Fallen on the Ground – A Deep Dive
It’s tough to imagine, from our vantage point high above the earth, just how severely we’d be impacted by a fall from height. Injuries are likely, and depending on the height and surface, the consequences can be catastrophic. The term “fallen on the ground” can be used to describe any fall from any height, be it from a person jumping off a tall building or falling from a ladder while changing a light bulb.
Falling from height is a leading cause of preventable workplace fatalities, accounting for a significant proportion of all worker deaths. In the construction industry, falls from height are the leading cause of death, accounting for more than a third of worker fatalities. This is why it’s essential to have the right safety systems in place when working in elevated locations.
Fall Prevention Systems
There are a variety of fall prevention systems available that can significantly reduce the chances of an individual falling from an elevated location. Some of the common features of these systems are as follows:
Guardrails: These structures are placed around elevated edges to prevent people from accidentally falling over the edge. Guardrail systems can be permanent or temporary, and they’re typically used in situations where people will be working on elevated surfaces for an extended period.
Safety Nets: In situations where guardrails aren’t feasible, safety nets can be used as an alternative. They’re typically secured to the supporting structure of a building or structure and can be deployed beneath elevated work surfaces to catch falling individuals.
Harnesses: Personal fall arrest systems, which include harnesses, lanyards, anchor points, and other components, are used to prevent individuals from falling from elevated surfaces. Harnesses are typically used when working on ladders, scaffolding, or rooftops.
Work Positioning Systems: Work positioning systems are a component of fall arrest systems and are designed to keep workers in a specific location while allowing them to move around freely. They’re typically used in construction work, where workers need to move around different locations on the same structure.
Fall Restraint: A fall restraint system is used to prevent a worker from reaching the edge of an elevated surface where a fall could occur. This system is perfect for situations where work takes place close to the edge, and there’s a risk of an accidental fall.
Consequences of Falling from Height
Falling from height can have severe consequences, depending on the height of the fall and the surface where the individual lands. Here are some of the injuries that can result from a fall from height:
Broken bones: When individuals fall from height, they typically land forcefully, which can lead to broken or fractured bones. The severity of the injury depends on the height of the fall and the surface where the individual lands.
Head Injuries: Head injuries are the most severe consequences of falling from height. They can result in permanent brain damage, coma, or even death. Even if an individual survives a head injury fall, there’s a risk of long-term cognitive impairment.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries can occur when individuals land on their back, which can lead to paralysis or even death. Depending on the severity of the injury, paralysis can be temporary or permanent.
Contusions and Lacerations: When individuals fall from height, they typically sustain contusions and lacerations. These injuries occur when the body impacts the ground or other objects during the fall. They can be severe and require medical attention.
Q. Can workplace safety systems reduce the chances of falls?
A. Yes. Reduced falls can be achieved through safety systems such as guardrails, safety nets, harnesses, work positioning systems, and more.
Q. What are the most severe consequences of falling from height?
A. Head injuries are the most severe consequence, followed by spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and contusions and lacerations.
Q. Can safety measures be implemented in the construction industry?
A. Yes, safety measures can be implemented to ensure worker safety in the construction industry. The most common measures include guardrails, safety nets, harnesses, and work positioning systems.
In conclusion, falling from height can have severe consequences, regardless of the height of the fall or the surface where the individual lands. It’s critical to have appropriate safety systems in place when working in elevated locations. These systems can significantly reduce the risk of accidental falls and protect the lives of workers.