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Falls on the Rise in Virginia Workplaces

Work-related accidents can be devastating for an employee and, unfortunately, they happen all too often across the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded by private employers in the US in 2016, which is an increase over the 4,836 fatalities in 2015. Though non-fatal injuries declined as compared to 2015, there were still 2.9 million employees hurt in US workplaces in 2016; almost 80,000 of these injured victims were residents of Virginia.

The data compiled by the BLS reveals trends among work-related accidents. Transportation accidents topped the list for the most common cause of death in 2016, accounting for 40% of all fatal events in the workplace. Notably, however, the number of fatal falls rose to become the second leading cause of death due to workplace accidents. If you were hurt, time is of the essence to take action under state laws and an experienced Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer can help

Industries in Which Falls are Common

Not surprisingly, there are certain workplace settings in which falls tend to occur more often because of the nature of the environment. In the construction industry, they are most likely to occur in:                                          

  • Residential construction projects;
  • Sites related to highway, bridge, and road construction; and,
  • Plumbing, heating, and air conditioning contractors.

Falls are also frequent in manufacturing, mining, and in utility work.

Types of Falls That Cause Injuries and Fatalities

For purposes of organizing its data, the BLS categorizes falls into different types. Two key classifications are:

  • Falls from one level to a lower level, which tend to cause more fatalities and serious injuries; and,
  • Falls on the same level, which may be as minor as a simple trip over debris or slip on a slick surface.

When employees are involved in work-related falls, they often suffer broken bones, lacerations, muscle strain, sprained ligaments, and bruises. However, more severe injuries may include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion, and other types of head trauma;
  • Neck and spinal cord damage;
  • Dislocated joints;
  • Damage to internal organs; and,
  • Other debilitating injuries.

Virginia workers’ compensation laws are intended to protect victims of workplace accidents, including those who sustain injuries in a fall. Workers’ comp is a type of insurance program in which employers must participate by paying premiums. An injured employee can file a claim to cover medical costs and disability benefits from being out of work. Qualifying family members of a worker who was killed in a work-related accident can also obtain death benefits, which provide financial assistance after the loss of their loved one.

Discuss Workers’ Compensation Claims with a Skilled Hampton Attorney

Falls are on the rise in Virginia workplaces, but injured workers do have rights under state workers’ compensation laws. If you were hurt in a fall or other type of work-related incident,  Mr. Hoen can assist with all aspects of the workers’ compensation claims process, including filing a claim, pursuing an appeal, and working with your employer. For more information, please call our office at 757.838.1136 or visit the firm website to set up a free consultation.

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