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Falling on the job

Falling on the job is a serious problem for workers in Colorado and around the United States. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 605 workers that died in 2009 as a result of a workplace fall. During that year, more than 212,00 workers were seriously injured after falling on the job. The resulting costs of medical care and workers' compensation claims related to falls are in the billions of dollars each year.

Construction workers are the most at risk for being killed after falling at work, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says that the highest number of nonfatal fall injuries involve workers in the health services, retail and wholesale industries. Other workers who also have a higher risk of falling on the job include building cleaning, health care support, material moving and extraction workers.

Although fatal falls in the construction industry often involve a complex series of events, many falls to the same level are simply due to a slippery floor. Other factors that could cause a worker to fall include a cluttered work environment, unstable walking surface or holes in the floor. Workers who must perform tasks above ground level might fall due to misuse of ladders or fall protection equipment.

A worker who was injured after falling on the job may be eligible to file a workers' compensation claim. Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, the injured worker may claim lost wages and reimbursement for medical costs. If the negligence of a third party other than the employer was the cause of the accident, it may in some cases be possible to maintain a separate personal injury action as well.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Fall Injuries Prevention in the Workplace", accessed on Jan. 19, 2015

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