The number of injuries that follow falls in the workplace remains a concern nationwide. However, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has established more stringent safety rules than other states to address the prevalence of falls from heights. These state-specific requirements aim to implement measures in all workplaces to combat slip, trip and fall accidents and the workplace injuries they cause.
While federal safety rules require fall protection devices and systems for elevated levels of four feet and higher, Cal/OSHA sets the risk level at 30 inches. Any working level that is more than 30 inches above the ground must have guardrails, and this includes areas such as roof edges or openings, landings with glazed or open sides, ramps, runways or platforms. Additional rules like the need for safety nets and fall arrest harnesses are based on industries and jobs performed.
However, same-level falls can also cause serious injuries, and precautions to prevent slips or trips in offices and other workplaces include keeping uncluttered and unobstructed walkways. Spills, splashes and leaks must be cleaned up immediately, and workers must be encouraged to wear slip-resistant shoes. Hallways, stairs and other areas must have sufficient lighting.
Despite all the precautions, falls will likely continue to occur. These workplace injuries could cause long-term problems that require ongoing medical treatment and extended periods in hospitals or recovery. Fortunately, the benefits that are available through the California workers’ compensation insurance program will cover medical bills and lost wages. Injured workers may seek the support and guidance of an experienced attorney to ease the claims process.