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Falls are common source of worker injury and death

The risk of injuries on the job in Oklahoma varies by industry, but falls are a perennial source of injuries and even deaths. Reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that falls injured an estimated 212,760 people in 2009. Some industries are more prone to fall accidents than others.

According to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, construction jobs have the highest rate of deaths attributed to falls. In the construction trades, workers often use ladders and scaffolds. Their improper placement or use creates persistent hazards to workers.

Other industries that have many injuries associated with falls are ones that involve moving and transporting materials. For example, wholesale, retail, health services, building maintenance, and mining occupations have high rates of fall injuries. Many problems arise from falls like back injury, broken limbs, neck injury, and brain injury. Causes cited by the CDC are poorly used fall protection equipment, slippery floors, clutter and badly positioned ladders. Workplaces with a high rate of accidents often tend to suffer from a poor safety culture. Estimates of the medical costs of fall accidents place the figure at billions of dollars every year in the United States.

Most employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance to pay the costs of injured employees. But injured Oklahoma workers have to report their injuries and make workers' compensation claims within time limits. Failure to meet legal requirements can endanger a worker's chance of receiving benefits. Sometimes when injuries occur in the workplace, victims will seek the assistance of an attorney to help them with the claim process. An attorney can also provide representation to a worker in a subsequent hearing process if the claim is contested or denied.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Fall Injuries Prevention in the Workplace", accessed on Jan. 18, 2015

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