Don’t Discount Falls -- They Are No. 2 Cause Of Worker Deaths

Jan. 30, 2020

A few weeks ago my husband fell at work. It wasn’t anything dramatic -- he tripped over a tree root on the way to the Porta Potty. He jumped back up, did his business and went back to work. The next day he came home early from the jobsite (he’s a carpenter) in agonizing pain. His back had locked up and he was out of work for two days. He’s had other spills at work. A major accident occurred a decade ago. He was out of work for six weeks due to a patellar fracture (kneecap) he sustained when he fell off a roof and landed on his feet. He ended up getting a life-threatening blood clot in that same leg and was hospitalized for a week and put on heavy blood thinners. I thank my lucky stars they caught the clot before it was too late.

It’s mundane accidents like slips, trips and falls that folks tend to sluff off. But a recent infographic from Avetta, a cloud-based supply chain risk management solutions provider, points out that falls are the second leading cause of workplace accidental deaths -- every year 646,000 people die from a falling accident (the No. 1 cause is motor vehicle accidents). For those employees who survive a fall, they can expect a recovery period of 38 days. In addition to the physical suffering, the bottom line takes a hit, too. According to the infographic, slips, trips and falls account for over $11 billion in compensation costs for businesses globally.

I’ve already printed off this infographic for my husband to take to work (download a PDF for yourself). It offers a sobering look at seemingly silly accidents. It also outlines a few good ways to mitigate the risks. I hope this year's death toll diminishes. Until then, watch where you're walking and remove hazards when you see them.

Slips, Trips and Falls Add Up

Traci Purdum is Chemical Processing’s senior digital editor. She has her own history of slipping and falling. Knock on wood, nothing serious has happened. You can email her at [email protected]. Additionally, you can check out her newest podcast: Process Safety With Trish & Traci -- Listen now.

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