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Fall Accidents at Work in Chicago and Illinois

fall accident

Fall accidents at a worksite took the lives of 668 American workers in 2012, accounting for about 17 percent of all fatal work injuries during the year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS) says. Falls also accounted for 285,3890 nonfatal workplace injuries.

In Illinois, 245 fatal occupational injuries occurred in 2012, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Twenty Four of those fatalities, or 17 percent, could be attributed to falls (five falls to the same level and 23 falls to lower levels from ladders, roofs and parked vehicles).

It’s clear that falls are common and carry serious consequences for victims and their families. It’s important for those impacted by a work-related fall to get legal assistance in order to protect their rights and interests.

Falls are Common at Construction Sites

The construction industry accounted for eight fatal workplace falls in Illinois in 2010, or 26 percent of the total, BLS stats show.

The National Safety Council (NSC) said in a special report on occupational fall prevention and protection that falls are a persistent hazard found in all occupational settings, but that the highest frequency of fall-related deaths is experienced by the construction industry.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency charged with regulating and enforcing job site safety, says its most frequently cited standards violation in fiscal year 2012 (October 2011 through September 2012) was for fall protection in the construction industry. On OSHA’s list of the top 10 safety standard violations, violations of general requirements for construction scaffolding came in third, and use of ladders in construction placed eighth.

Employers Have a Duty to Prevent Falls at Work

OSHA requires employers to set up the workplace to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls. Fall protection is to be provided at various elevations according to the industry (such as at six feet in the construction industry) and whenever employees work over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.

OSHA also requires employers to:

  • Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.
  • Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, dry condition.
  • Select and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
  • Train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand.

Yet, according to the NSC, workplace fall incidents in the work environment frequently involve:

  • Slippery, cluttered, or unstable walking / working surfaces
  • Unprotected edges
  • Floor holes and wall openings
  • Unsafely positioned ladders
  • Misused fall protection.

“Persistent unsafe practices and low safety culture across many industries define steady fall injury rates year after year,” the NSC report says.

Get Legal Help for Your Fall Injury from a Chicago Workplace Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a workplace fall in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, an experienced fall accident lawyer can help you obtain money to pay for your medical expenses, lost income and other losses. For a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case, call Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., Chicago workplace accident lawyers, at our toll-free number or use our online form.