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The dangers of workplace falls

Illinois workers in all industries should guard against falls in the workplace. The annual cost of workplace falls in the United States is in the billions of dollars annually, when medical costs and workers' compensation benefits are taken into account. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009, 605 people died due to falls at work and more than 212,000 were injured. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is working to reduce the incidence of falls in the workplace.

While the most fatal falls occur in the construction industry, falls are also more common in other industries including health care, wholesale and retail, building cleaning and maintenance, and transportation. Many workplace falls could be easily prevented by removing clutter, making sure floors are not slippery and positioning ladders safely. Other causes of falls include holes in walls and floors, edges that lack protection and the misuse of safety equipment designed to prevent falls.

Despite regulations imposed by both state and federal governments and within certain industry sectors, not all workplaces are as safety-conscious as they should be. In the United States, the NIOSH is taking a lead in working to prevent these falls.

An individual who is injured in the workplace as a result of a fall may wish to consult an attorney. Workers' compensation should cover some of the expenses resulting from a workplace injury, but the process of obtaining that compensation may be challenging to some. An attorney who has workers' compensation experience can assist an injured client in gathering all of the documentation that is required in order to file a claim for benefits.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Fall Injuries Prevention in the Workplace", accessed on Jan. 25, 2015

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