Cost of A Fall | How This Hazard Can Effect Your Business
Every worker has the right to return home safe each and every day. The most recent report conducted by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), showed that 251,508 Canadian’s accepted claims for lost time due to work-related injury or disease in just one year. Did you know that approximately 18% of those time-loss injuries, or about 42,000 workers a year, are injured due to fall incidents alone?
So how do these falls happen?
The majority (around 67%) are the result of slips and trips while the remaining are falls from a height. Same level falls can be caused by slippery and uneven surfaces, debris and tripping hazards, dark and obstructed pathways, and unsuitable footwear. Falling from heights can be caused by working where there is a chance of falling more than 3 meters (10 feet).
What the Law Says
If you’re working at a height exceeding 3 meters (10 feet) occupational health and safety (OHSA) laws generally require fall protection measures to be in place. You can check with your jurisdiction as requirements do vary, but in most cases fall protection measures such as fixed barriers, surface opening protections, control zones, fall or travel restraint systems, fall containment systems or fall arrest systems are required. You can learn more about some of these systems by reading our fall protection glossary.
OHSA also requires that employers take every reasonable precaution to protect workers, provide information and instruction, and ensure that workers properly use or wear the required equipment. Employers, supervisors, and workers can be prosecuted for not complying with the law.
**Refer to industry-specific regulations for details on legislative compliance. Your health and safety association can provide this information to you.
How can this Hazard can Affect Your Business?
The Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) of Ontario published a study on this and found the following:
- Each year there are about 17,000 lost-time injuries due to falls in the workplace
- One in five lost-time injuries result from falls
- Every year about 20 people die in Ontario because of workplace falls
- 80 workers are injured every day because of a fall – that’s one every 20 minutes
These numbers are for Ontario alone, and display just how important it is to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace. Like we always say, every worker has the right to return home safe each and every day, and fall prevention and protection is a large part of that.
But let’s take a moment to step away and look at this through a monetary lense. Keeping your employees safe should be enough of a reason to prioritize fall prevention and protection – But the reality of the situation is, a fall can also cost your business a fair amount…
- An average WSIB claim is $11,771; factor in other costs like lost productivity and staff replacement, and the cost can be as much as four times more – approximately $59,000 per injury
- with a profit margin of 5%, sales/services required to cover the total cost of one injury equals about $1.2 million
What You Can Do
Preventing Falls due to Slips and Trips
The most basic way to prevent slips and trips is to maintain proper housekeeping measures, such as:
- Cleaning spills immediately if possible, and marking them as ‘wet areas’ if not
- Ensuring debris is mopped or swept from floors
- Removing obstacles from walkways
- Securing mats, rugs or carpets to the floor to ensure they lay flat
- Covering and securing cables that cross walkways
- Replacing used light bulbs and faulty switches to ensure all work areas are well lit
While following these suggestions will reduce your risk for slips and trips, it’s impossible to completely eliminate all risk.
As an employee, it is important to recognize the risk and prepare yourself as much as possible. There are lots of easy ways to reduce your chance of falling, which include:
- Wearing the proper footwear—Consider slip-resistant shoes with flat heels, especially when working in an oily or wet environment
- Keep your hands to your sides, not in your pockets, for balance
- Walk slowly on slippery surfaces—Slide your feet to avoid sharp turns
- Always focus on where you are going, what you are doing, and what lies ahead
- Don’t carry loads you can’t see over
- Watch out for floors that are uneven, have holes, etc.
Preventing Falls from a Height
Just because falls from a height happen less often doesn’t mean you should be discounting them as a serious risk. These falls are the incidents that commonly lead to grave injuries or even death.
The best way to prevent falls from a height is having a fall protection plan. Fall protection plans outline policies and procedures involved in assembling, maintaining, inspecting, using and dismantling any equipment you may be using to work at a height. Fall protection plans need to be customized for each work-site, as requirements and equipment will vary based on many different factors.
A site-specific fall protection plan will incorporate many things, including:
- Site location – address, description, work areas, tasks, etc.
- Site-specific fall hazards (e.g. maximum working heights or proximity to power lines)
- Type of fall protection to be used, including all anchor points and clearance requirements
- Equipment inspections
- Any other work requirements (e.g. presence of first aid or rescue personnel, barricades, etc.)
- Rescue procedures
- Worker sign off
Like we mentioned above, If you’re working at a height exceeding 3 meters (10 feet) occupational health and safety laws generally require fall protection measures to be in place. Hercules SLR offers a wide range of fall protection equipment and our experts would be happy to set you up with the right equipment based on your needs – All it takes is a quick phone call or email!
Ensure that required personal protective equipment, and other equipment, is in good repair and used properly.
But it’s not good enough just to throw on the required minimum fall protection equipment and call it a day – It’s important the equipment be in proper condition, and that it’s being used properly. These are aspects of your safety measures that Hercules SLR can aid with greatly. Our LEEA certified inspection technicians can inspect and certify your fall protection equipment and you can get trained on the proper way to used fall protection at the Hercules Training Academy!
The Hercules Training Academy is open with brand new classrooms and specialized training equipment enable us to provide an even higher quality of service than ever before when it comes to safety training. Through our Hercules Training Academy, we offer an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses. Whether you’re looking for initial or refresher training, we provide practical, hands-on courses designed to exceed the minimum safety requirements.
In our Fall Protection course, you will learn: regulations, hazard assessments, pre-use inspections, calculating fall distance, donning a harness, selecting fall protection equipment, fall protection plans and procedures, selecting anchor points, ladders, elevated work platforms, suspension trauma
We can customize courses to fit your workplace’s specific needs. We are always willing to design a course (or multiple courses) specifically for you!