When it comes to workplace safety, you may not think that slips and falls are that big of a deal.
But according to WorkSafeBC, 20 per cent of all workplace injury claims are related to slips and falls — particularly falls from elevated heights. Injuries can include sprains, bruises, concussions, fractures, burns or cuts.
In 2021, WorkSafeBC accepted 4,050 claims related to injuries caused by falls from elevation. There were 497 serious injuries and six deaths from falls in the construction centre.
As the weather warms, outdoor construction work in B.C. will increase. With that, WorkSafeBC is reminding employers that the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation requires workers to use fall protection systems when a fall from three metres or more could occur, or where a fall from a lesser height could result in injury.
“Falls from elevation can cause serious, life-altering injuries, and even death,” says Suzana Prpic, Senior Manager of Prevention Field Services at WorkSafeBC. “Many of these falls can be prevented by fall protection planning and proper and consistent use of fall protection equipment.”
WorkSafeBC estimates slips and falls resulted in more than 260,000 lost workdays and more than $206 million in workers’ compensation payments in 2021. To mitigate the risks, WorkSafeBC recommends using guard rails, fall restraint devices or fall arrest systems, and to make sure all employees are trained on fall prevention procedures.