Workplace Slips, Trips, and Falls
In Texas, as in much of the country, slip, trip, and fall accidents are the second-most common cause of workplace injuries and fatalities, right behind vehicle accidents on the job. This, despite the fact that safety standards, developed, implemented and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) directly address such problems as walkways and working surfaces for most industries, including those most prominent in Texas, like the construction industry, the oil and gas industry, shipyards and marine terminals.
Workplace Slips, Trips, and Falls Cause 88 Death Everyday
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2013 there were 4,585 worker fatalities nationwide, which amounts to a staggering 88 deaths per day, and the largest single cause of those accidents were slips, trips, and falls. The numbers were so staggering that OSHA has been conducting a two-year campaign to address fall safety and tightened the rules for fall protection. In recent years, Texas workplaces have become somewhat safer, but the numbers still aren’t great. According to the BLS, there were 51,890 cases of days away from work because of injury in 2013 and the most commonly cited cause was falls.
People often slip and fall at work when they lose traction on floors that are slippery due to a variety of possible conditions, including spilled liquids or other substances, or after being freshly waxed. Workplace slips, trips, or falls can be caused by unstable or uneven walking surfaces, such as a floor with irregular tiles or carpeting that is uneven or coming up at an edge or a corner. Sometimes, they happen because cables and cords run across the floor or because of debris and clutter on the floor. Regardless of the cause, such slips, trips, and falls can lead to serious injuries.
The purpose of OSHA regulations and established industry standards and best practices is to ensure that workplaces are safe and floor and walkway maintenance procedures are no exception. Employers can prevent the vast majority of slips, trips, and falls by establishing, implementing, and enforcing procedures and standards designed to keep the workplace clear and free of hazards. In addition to good housekeeping practices and regular inspection and maintenance practices, it is also essential to implement proper lighting throughout the workplace, so that workers can easily see and avoid any potential walkway hazards. In addition, as much floor area as possible should have skid-resistant surfaces, and all sloping walkways, like ramps, should be equipped with handrails.
When someone is injured in a slip, trip, and fall accident at work, the employer may be legally liable if the employer or a co-worker can be shown to have directly caused the walkway or the floor surface to become unsafe, by spilling something or leaving objects in the walkway. They may also be held liable if they knew or should have known about the dangerous walkway and failed to alleviate the hazard. These situations can be very complex, especially since there are a number of avenues to getting compensation for your injuries, including making workers’ compensation claims with the employer or filing personal injury lawsuits against other parties that may be responsible.
Texas Workplace Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love have suffered a workplace injury in a Texas workplace, please contact The Gutierrez Law Firm, because we have the experience and background necessary to help you protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve for a workplace injury.