You don’t need to work at heights for falls to be a job risk
Many people are aware of how falls contribute to many workplace injuries and deaths. People know that professions like construction are particularly dangerous because they occur at an elevation. All it takes is one wrong step for a worker to plummet multiple stories and suffer life-altering injuries.
Obviously, falls from any significant height are a real safety concern that workers and employers alike should proactively seek to address. However, you don’t have to climb scaffolding or even scale a ladder at work for a fall to be a safety concern.
For tens of thousands of workers each year, a same-level fall will be the reason that they get hurt on the job.
How common are same-level falls?
A worker in just about any environment, from a daycare center to a factory, could slip in a puddle or trip over their own shoelaces and fall. A same-level fall could result in brain injuries, broken bones and soft tissue injuries. Some workers may need to go to the hospital after falling, and others may require an extended leave of absence until their injuries improve.
While it may seem minor to fall at the same level, it can actually cause serious injury. In 2020, there were 127,680 workers injured by falling without any significant elevation. Another 136 workers died due to a same-level fall. Falls are one of the top causes of lost time incidents and workers’ compensation claims.
How workers’ compensation helps
When someone has an injury and needs immediate medical attention, workers’ compensation benefits can potentially cover all of their care costs. If the injury will force them to take an extended leave of absence, the worker could potentially receive up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage in disability benefits until they can return to work.
In one of the tragic but relatively rare same-level fall fatalities, the surviving family members of the worker who fell could receive death benefits that would include wage replacement, medical coverage and even funeral benefits. Even if a worker fell because they wore the wrong shoes that day or got distracted while typing an email on their phone, the no-fault coverage of workers’ compensation could still help pay their costs.
Pursuing a workers’ compensation claim can be an option after a same-level fall or any other incident on the job that leaves someone injured.