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Impact of falls from roofs, scaffolds or ladders in construction

Many New Yorkers have suffered from falls, and while they may seem funny to some -- as witnessed on YouTube and blooper reels -- some result in serious injuries or even death. Many occur in the construction industry, and workers and employers know that falls from roofs, scaffolds or ladders are no laughing matter. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 600 workers were killed in 2009 due to falls. An additional 212,760 were seriously injured. While falls impact a person physically, they impact employers financially.

Nobody wants a fall to happen, which is why many employers are focusing on safety measures. But even if companies put new procedures in place, safety is a team effort. By taking the time to mop up slippery floors, remove clutter and practice better habits when using ladders, employees and employers can reduce their risk of construction accidents.

Falls come at a huge cost to not only the victims but to employers as well. In the United States alone, $70 billion is spent every year on medical care and workers' compensation due to falls. These falls are often caused by unstable objects, wobbly ladders, clutter, slippery floors and openings in walls or floors. Safety equipment such as helmets can often prevent injuries, but sometimes employees are not provided with them or other basic safety equipment, leading to workplace accidents.

Overall, education is the key to preventing falls. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration can assess construction sites and determine areas in need of improvement. When everyone works together and focuses on their own safety as well as the safety of others, everyone wins.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Fall Injuries Prevention in the Workplace," accessed Nov. 7, 2014

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