Network Magazine
HSO Network Magazine • Volume 1 • Issue 1
 
 
   

Don’t Fall for Fall Hazards

By Ariel White, Infrastructure Health & Safety Association

 

Every year in Ontario, about 10 workers die and 15,000 miss time from work because of injuries from a slip, trip or fall at their workplace. In fact, 35 per cent of all Ontario’s workplace insurance claims originate from slips, trips and falls.

These types of injuries result in Ontario companies spending more money. The average Ontario WSIB claim represents six weeks off work at a direct cost of $19,560.

These are some serious numbers that workers and employers need to consider. If they don’t, they should know the Ministry of Labour is taking notice. A year-long falls-focused campaign has inspectors paying particular attention to fall-related hazards. (Read Health & Safety Ontario’s article MOL launches year-long falls inspection campaign).

To figure out the true cost of a slip or fall, however, we must look beyond these direct costs (such as medical treatments and lost wages). There are also indirect or hidden costs to consider. Indirect costs result from expense and time finding a temporary replacement for the injured worker, time used by other employees to assist the injured worker, time used by supervision to investigate the mishap, preparation of incident reports and adjustments made to work schedules, property damage to tools, materials and equipment, and delays in completing work by a group.

These indirect or hidden costs increase the amount to $98,000 per WSIB claim– approximately four times the direct costs.

When compared to the cost of reducing risks by such means as training or new equipment, companies may discover that a safer workplace saves money as well as lives.



  Lewis Wheelan

35 per cent of all Ontario’s workplace insurance claims originate from slips, trips and falls.


You may also be interested in

1. Fall Prevention Resources

Health & Safety Ontario has a wealth of resources to help you eliminate falls-related hazards from any workplace, including hazard assessment, analysis, and control services..

2. 2010 Falls Blitz Results

The outcome of a 2010 fall blitz involving non-construction workplaces may offer insights into what to expect from the Ministry of Labour’s current year-long, all-sector campaign.

3. Falling Incidents: Recent Court Prosecutions

Falls consistently account for one in six (17%) of Ontario’s lost-time injury claims, with no decline in sight. Every year in Ontario, about 10 workers die and 15,000 miss time from work because of injuries from a slip, trip or fall at their workplace.

4. The Legal Story 2

After Lewis Wheelan suffered catastrophic injuries at work, charges were laid against two Great Lakes Power Ltd. directors, as well as the CEO and a supervisor, under section 32 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Essentially, they were charged for failing to ensure the contractor who had hired Lewis followed proper safety procedures. The contractor and co-worker were also charged.

5. Sarah Afterward

While helping Lewis cope with the changes in his life, Sarah Wheelan had to deal with her own grief and loss.

“After Lewis was injured, everything for my parents and me became, ‘How could we make his life just a little bit better? Or take his mind off things?’ What had taken over Lewis’s life had also taken over ours. Even though Lewis didn’t want to be the centre of attention all of the time, we couldn’t help it.