Minnesota workers may be interested to know falls are considered one of the most common workplace injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only transportation-related accidents lead to more workplace deaths. Falls cost employers more than $15 billion in workers’ compensation claims nationwide every year.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has rules in place designed to prevent workplace injuries and deaths, including those from falls. Their efforts have been successful: An estimated 14,000 workers died while on the job in 1970; however, less than 5,000 died in 2014.
While workplaces are generally safer than they used to be, employers should continue to do their part to help prevent trips and falls. They should identify and eliminate hazards that cause falls. If a hazard cannot be eliminated, it should be made conspicuous.
Employers should also remember that a clean workplace is a safer workplace. Hazardous and liquid materials should be stored safely and spills should be immediately cleaned up since wet floors increase the risk of slipping and falling. Workers also should be trained in safety practices so they can do their part in reducing accidents.
Unfortunately, the best-intentioned preventive measures will not eliminate all workplace accidents. That’s why employers are required to have a workers’ compensation program in place to care for injured employees. Injured workers might be able to have their medical expenses compensated and receive replacement income if they are not able to work. Retraining may be available for workers who cannot return to their pre-injury jobs. Not all claims are cut and dry, however. If one goes amiss, the injured worker may want to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney.