One thing about work-related falls is that the severity of the injuries does not depend on the height of the fall. While New Jersey workers wear personal protective equipment when they work in elevated areas, no PPE can protect a worker who slips or trips and falls at ground level. Many of the claims filed for workers’ compensation each year involve serious injuries suffered in preventable same-level falls.
Inadequate housekeeping causes many slip-and-fall, and trip-and-fall injuries when walking surfaces are wet from spillages or leaks, and when debris or randomly placed objects are present in walkways. In many cases, uneven floor surfaces or coverings, extension cords snaking across walkways or insufficient lighting causes the hazards. The severity of these falls can be minor or catastrophic, depending on where the worker lands and whether his or her head strikes a hard object.
While ladders and chairs pose many fall hazards, recent reports address the rise in fall injuries caused by distractions. Many workers pay no attention to their surroundings when they walk because they dare not take their eyes from their mobile phones. Distracted walking in the workplace cause limited visibility and compromised awareness to identify potential fall hazards.
The New Jersey workers’ compensation system is a no-fault program. This means that injured workers can claim compensation regardless of who was at fault. However, some employers mightseek to reject certain claims, such as injuries suffered while walking and texting. This is where the skills of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can be invaluable to fight for maximum benefits under applicable laws.