Caught by Safety Netting

Workplace safety

Photo credit: Luciana Santos/

All in all, workplace safety is always a concern, but never more so, than for those working high above the ground. Recently, a construction worker found himself lucky to be alive after surviving an 8-story fall from a building under construction in Seattle–all thanks to a safety net.

Seattle Fire officials said the worker was on the 20th floor of a building under construction at 7th and Lenora. Just before 11am, the 30-year-old man fell eight harrowing floors and was caught in a safety net on the 12th floor. Fire officials say he suffered “lower extremity” injuries and was transported to Harborview Medical Center for treatment. He is listed in critical condition.

Details about what led up to the fall have not been released.

Workplace Safety–Falling on the Job

Many jobs have significant risks and hazards associated with them. In fact, falls are the third leading cause of death in workplaces across the United States. But comparatively for those in the construction industry, falling on the job is the leading cause of death for workers.

In 2013, 595 workers died in falls from higher levels–with half of all those falls occurring from 20 feet or lower. A National Safety Council study points out the differences in the overall rates in multiple industries when it comes to slips, trips, and falls. By and large, working in construction has a 7 times greater risk of falling than any other of these industries.

It’s little wonder that hazardous slips and falls have proven to be a grave concern for workplace safety. Dangers are ever present, considering the statistics below:

  • Construction: 21,890 injuries, 302 deaths
  • Manufacturing: 21,430 injuries, 42 deaths
  • Wholesale trade: 12,640 injuries, 25 deaths
  • Retail trade: 29,690 injuries, 32 deaths
  • Transportation and Warehousing: 21,970 injuries, 35 deaths
  • Professional and business services: 19,300 injuries, 91 deaths
  • Education and health services: 47,740 injuries, 13 deaths
  • Government: 66,940 injuries, 54 deaths

Plan, Provide, and Train for Workplace Safety

Workplace Safety

Photo credit:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that oversees approximately 130 million workers’ health and safety environment at over 8 million work sites around the country.

OSHA believes that these workplace injuries and deaths from falls are preventable. Generally speaking, that means very fall from a ladder, scaffold, and roof is preventable.

In 2012, OSHA partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and National Occupational Research Agenda to lead a campaign on Fall Prevention. Their purpose was to raise awareness among all workers and employers about common construction hazards that may lead to falls.

Workplace safety is a team effort. In essence, employers must plan projects that ensure safety for everyone. Companies will undoubtedly have highly trained and capable individuals whose job it is to plan ahead and instruct how each task is to be carried out. Implicit to the planning and training, is knowing what safety equipment will be required to accomplish these tasks at minimal risk to the workers. Safety equipment and tools coupled with detailed plans are vital in safe construction projects.

Many building jobs require workers to be 6 feet or higher from the ground. This creates potential risks for serious injury and death if a fall should occur. To protect these workers, employers must provide protection and the right gear for the job.

In the long run, proper training will make planning and the right equipment most effective. The right equipment may include the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, harnesses and personal fall arrest systems (PFAS). Each employer and worker needs to make sure that the PFAS fits properly and is regularly inspected between uses.

Preventing Workplace Falls

Slips and falls can occur for any number of reasons. With over a million Americans suffering either a slip, trip and fall each year, the most common injuries often include bruises, fractures and head injuries. Slips and falls are the most sighted reason for traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Statistics further show that workplace slips and falls make up for almost 20 percent of all job-related injuries and loss of time at work.

Here are 10 ways to prevent slips and falls in every industry:

1. Wear proper footwear. Seems simple enough, may not often be the first consideration. Shoes should be comfortable, well-fitted, and have enough traction on the bottom.

2. Create traction. Smooth surfaces can easily become slick. Anti-slip mats and tape can help to add traction for when materials like dust and grease cannot be cleaned up or otherwise removed.

3. Keep it clean. A clean workplace is usually a safer one too! Take time to keep boxes, ropes, and cords, and spills out of the way of workers feet.

4. See accidents before they happen. Poor lighting in basements and stairways can cause anyone, at work or home, to misstep and trip. Adequate lighting makes it easier to avoid hazards. At home–leave the porch light on in the evening.

5. Block off temporary trip hazards. Use orange cones, barricade tape, and other floor safety products to restrict access to areas that present temporary slip, trip and fall hazards.

6. Mark out clear passageways. Use floor marking tape to show where walkways are and that these areas should be kept clear. Tape out areas around swinging doors and stairways to help others avoid these hazards too.

7. Post safety signs to remind everyone of hazards and policies. Posting the right safety signs will alert workers of trip and fall hazards. Remind them to check ladders and scaffolding, and alert them to your policies for a clean workplace.

8. Gear up with the right equipment. Fall arrest systems are important and essential parts of any fall prevention plan. Remind workers to wear them diligently!

9. Inspect first, climb second. Before you climb a ladder or scaffolding, inspect your set-up. Inspections require a critical examination from someone properly trained. If a ladder or scaffolding is in bad condition, tag it for repair or removal so no one will accidentally use it.

10. Every worker should receive training on how to avoid slip, trip, and fall hazards. Like any other safety concerns, potential slips, trips, and falls can be averted with proper safety training. Make sure that everyone can recognize and avoid slip, trip, and fall hazards and that they use personal safety devices correctly, when necessary.

Our Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers Are Here to Help You

Workplace slips and falls can cause serious and life-threatening injuries, as shown by the recent accident in Seattle. Furthermore, many falls have proven fatal, possibly due to flaws in the planning, training, and adequate equipping of workers.

When it comes to workplace safety concerns, accident victims may not only need excellent medical care, but a skilled and experienced personal attorney, to help manage their road to recovery.

If you or a loved one has fallen in the workplace or been in an unfortunate situation, contact Fielding Law Group for a free legal consultation today.  Our team of professionals know your legal rights and will immediately staring working to help you get the care, compensation and settlement you deserve. Our trusted attorneys will be with you every step of the way. Remember–Don’t let an accident wreck YOU!  We are here to help you get your life back.