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Your Essential Remedy for a Workplace Fall

People treat fall accidents as if they were hugely comic. And we understand that: the pratfall has been a staple of humor for over two thousand years.

But, despite what we may have learned as children watching cartoons, a fall from a height isn’t a funny occasion. It’s deathly serious. Falls have become the second leading cause of work-related death across all industries (just behind traffic accidents), and most of these fatalities are falls from elevations.

Traumatic Whole-Body Impact

This is not to minimize the problems caused by same-level trips, slips, stumbles, and falls—but falls from an elevated position are much more likely to inflict serious injuries or fatalities. Occupational injuries including falls from heights may range from a slip off a ladder while installing windows, to a twenty-foot fall from a scaffold to the floor while painting a public building interior, to a plummet of over a hundred feet while welding steel on a new bridge.

All things being equal, the energy of a fall is a direct factor in the damage done to body of a fall’s victim. But when you double the height of the fall, the energy isn’t merely doubled—it’s multiplied by a factor of four, because a term is squared in the equation that describes the event. That means that when we compare a ten-foot fall off a ladder to a twenty-foot fall off a roof, there is four times as much energy in the second example to…

  • Fracture leg, arm, and shoulder bones
  • Rupture internal organs
  • Cause bleeding in the brain
  • Crush the rib cage
  • Bruise the liver or kidneys
  • Compress or sever the spine or the spinal cord
  • Lacerate major blood vessels, such as the aorta
  • Shred alveoli in the lungs, causing acute respiratory distress syndrome

Brain and skull trauma is the most frequent cause of death for falls from heights. Multiple scientific studies point to 15 meters—about 50 feet—as a critical distance for falls from an elevated place. At that height, it’s almost certain that two or more major body systems will be hurt in the fall. The majority of fatal on-the-job elevated falls involve distances of 15 meters or more.

Recovering From Elevated Falls on the Job

In Pennsylvania, the workers’ compensation program allows injured workers to recoup some of their losses from injuries on the job. Someone who suffers a fall from a height while engaging in his work duties should be given financial assistance to pay for medical bills, a portion of lost work income, physical and occupational rehabilitation, and a few other losses.

Because the injuries associated with a fall from an elevation can be so expensive to treat, may require extended recuperation time, or may prove fatal, sometimes employers and their insurance companies fight legitimate workers’ compensation claims. Don’t let this happen to you! Call the Harrisburg office of Schmidt Kramer when you need help. Start by ordering a FREE copy of our report, Who Pays the Bills When You Are Injured at Work? Then call our injury lawyers at (888) 476-0807 toll-free when you need answers to your questions in a free, confidential case review with a skilled lawyer. We’re here waiting to help pick you up after your fall.