Gravity is the natural force that attracts objects toward the center of the earth or each other. This is the force that pulls us down when we fall or jump, and it’s constant. You might be thinking, “Everyone knows this; it’s just common sense.” We may know it, but we don’t always think or plan ahead to find ways to prevent ourselves from falling victim to gravity’s force.
These circumstances resulted in falls on worksites:
- A worker finished rigging material on a flatbed truck for unloading. While he was walking across the load to get off the truck, the worker slipped and fell – landing on a load of I-beams.
- A worker drove a machine onto an uneven and unstable surface, which caused the machine to tip over. The worker jumped and broke both wrists when he landed on the ground.
- A worker stepped on a catwalk grating that was not properly secured to the catwalk frame. The grating flipped up and created an opening that the worker fell through. The worker injured his hands and fingers trying to grab onto the catwalk frame.
- A worker walked across a mat of rebar and tripped, falling onto the rebar and injuring his knees and hands.
In each of these instances, the workers were on surfaces that were uneven, not properly secured or had obstructions – creating the perfect opportunity for the worker to lose his or her balance and fall.
Also, remember to use a set of stairs or a ladder to come down from a surface. Jumping may be faster, but jumping creates a greater chance for injury. The impact when you land can cause damage to your knees, hips and back. You may negate the time you save by jumping with a subsequent week-long absence due to injury.
We can prevent many falls if we just think ahead.
- Is the surface area level and cleared?
- What kind of surface is below?
- What is the risk of injury?
A jump or fall may be short-lived, but the possible injury could last the rest of your life.