A recent admission to the Trauma & Emergency Centre was that of a gentleman who sustained various fractures following a fall in the work place. The patient sustained a fall on a vessel out at sea and due to poor weather conditions, had to wait three days before he could be airlifted to a site where he could then be transported via ambulance to the Christiaan Barnard Trauma & Emergency Center.
Considering that the "big four" (falls; caught between objects; electrocution; struck by an object;) account for a total of account for 56% fatalities in the work place, and 36% of these fatalities arise from falls, our gentleman in question narrowly escaped becoming a part of the statistics.
The on-site medical team was quick to respond to the incident, providing stabilization of the fractures and management of pain through the administration of analgesia. Once weather permitted, and after being airlifted and rapidly transported to the Christiaan Barnard Trauma & Emergency Center, the patient was seen to by the ER Doctors and a complete diagnostic quickly reviled the following injuries:
Employers must set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations. In addition, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.
To prevent employees from being injured from falls, employers must:
- Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).
- Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
- Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat or acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
- Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety and harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.
OSHA requires employers to:
- Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.
- Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition.
- Select and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
- Train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand.