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Deaths and injuries caused by falls through roof and floor openings and surfaces, including skylights.

Bobick TG
NOIRS 2000--Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA, October 17-19, 2000. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2000 Oct; :14
Occupational injuries and fatalities caused by falling is a serious problem throughout the U.S. Analyses of data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that during the 7-year period, 1992 through 1998, a total of 4,507 workers died as a result of a fall. Of these, 3,964 (88%) involved a fall to a lower level. An important sub-set of the "falls to a lower level" category involves workers falling through an existing opening in the floor or roof, or through floor or roof surfaces, including skylight fixtures already installed. During this 7-year period, 447 workers lost their lives by falling through something - 136 deaths occurred when workers fell through an existing roof or floor surface, 198 workers died by falling through existing openings (e.g., openings created for stairs, elevators, or skylights), and 113 died when they fell through already-installed skylight fixtures. In addition to fatalities, numerous injuries result from these "fall-through" events. Because of the circumstances associated with these incidents, the resulting injuries are among the most severe cases, in terms of median number of "days away from work" (DAFW). Analyses of other BLS data (i.e., Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses) indicate that 16,251 injuries occurred during the 6-year period, 1992 through 1997 (latest available data). The total DAFW related to these injuries was calculated to be 259,258. Data analyses revealed that the median number of DAFW (across all six years) were 13, 12, 43, 19, and 33 for falls through (a) existing floor openings, (b) floor surfaces, (c) existing roof openings, (d) roof surfaces, and (e) skylights, respectively. These analyses highlight the significance of falls through work surfaces, and suggest the need for injury reduction through modifying current work practices and developing appropriate engineering controls.
Accident rates; Accident statistics; Accidents; Accident prevention; Injuries; Traumatic injuries; Injury prevention; Surveillance programs; Statistical analysis; Epidemiology; Construction industry; Construction workers
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NOIRS 2000 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA, October 17-19, 2000
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division