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In a fall, does how you land matter?

| Nov 3, 2021 | Injury Prevention

One of the main reasons for workplace injuries is workers falling from heights. Examples include roofers who fall from the top of a building, painters who fall from tall ladders and even janitors who use stepladders to change light bulbs. 

In many of these cases, there is little time to react. You barely know that you’re falling. But what if you have a heartbeat to react amid that fall or right before you lose your balance? Say you feel the ladder tipping, and you realize it’s going over. Does how you land make much difference? 

Try to stay loose 

If you’re only falling a short distance, staying loose can help. People often stiffen up and try to catch themselves, which can lead to broken bones. If you bend your joints and relax, you’re actually less likely to get injured. 

Spread out the impact 

It can also be important to spread out the impact, perhaps by rolling as you fall. You may be tempted to catch yourself and arrest the movement quickly, but that’s jarring and dangerous. Rolling with the fall can be less painful and can reduce injuries. 

Strike with your feet 

Landing on your feet is wise in a very high fall, but you don’t want to be too rigid, as noted above. Rock climbers, for instance, will tell you to “land on your feet first but allow your body to crumple. As your legs absorb the impact, roll onto your back.” Again, the emphasis is on staying loose and eliminating the jarring impact. 

What to do after an injury 

Knowing how to fall doesn’t mean you won’t get hurt at work, and that’s not your fault. You still have a right to workers’ compensation, and you need to know what steps to take.