Fall injuries. This blog is a little different from many of my earlier blogs. It relies solely upon my experience as a safety manager for companies over the years. It is a laymen’s comment. The discussion is about fall injuries and why they are so problematic. First, a fall injury may arise from a simple stumble and fall while walking to falling off a roof or other height to a lower level. Regardless of the fall mechanism, the bottom line is the human body is experiencing a sudden impact that occurs from a very sudden stop.
Why are falls so injurious? If a 100-pound weight is dropped 12 inches and suddenly stopped the amount of energy created ranges between 950 to 1100 pounds. The human body simply cannot handle this type of energy.
Common injuries include joint, tendon, ligament, muscle and bone injury. If a bone is fractured it usually heals after 6 weeks. If a ligament or tendon is injured the healing time is commonly measured in months. Remember, these timelines translate into a long restricted work duty or lost work time event.
Avoiding falls is a very good idea. And, falls are easy to avoid with a little effort by employers and employees. Have a good fall protection program. Do fall protection training with all employees exposed to this hazard. Finally, seek the advice of a fall protection equipment vendor who can help identify different types of equipment and its applications so you chose appropriate and easy to use fall protection equipment. Final comment: The cost of a good fall protection program and equipment for all your operations is less than the cost of a single employee injured by a fall. And, much less time consuming for employer and the potential life time of injury or disability to the employee.