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The high cost of falls for workers, businesses

New Jersey residents might not expect the potential for much danger when it comes to falling down, but falls that happen on the job cause the most deaths after transportation-related fatalities. Liberty Mutual estimates that U.S. disability claims cost $61 billion every year.

Falling does not always result in severe injuries though falls are typically more serious when a worker is on a surface that is elevated and drops to a lower level. Additionally, even small falls could be a big deal when happening to workers who are older. These accidents also cause disabilities, and data from Liberty Mutual indicates that just falls cost around $15.57 billion in disability claims annually. This makes up about 25 percent of total disability claim costs with 8.7 of the falls involving a lower level while 16.7 percent of falls take place on the same level.

To reduce falls, companies must first focus on eliminating identifiable hazards that could cause someone to trip. Hazards that cannot be removed should be made obvious so that workers can clearly see and avoid the potential danger, and ramps, special floors, signs and rails may be needed. Next, businesses can help workers understand and prevent fall accidents. This could involve training about safety equipment and ensuring that workers use the protections in place to avoid falling.

Those who work at construction sites face risks and could fall to a different level when working on projects with multiple stories. If an employee falls on the job, then he or she could receive workers' compensation to help with medical costs. In addition, an injured worker has the right to consult an attorney when suffering from a workplace injury. If the fall occurs from a great distance and a worker does not survive, the worker's loved ones could be entitled to death benefits.

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