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The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. The American Equity Underwriters, Inc.
Longshore Insider
Safety Focus: Preventing Falls From Same Level
Mar 1, 2021 - The American Equity Underwriters, Inc.

Slips, trips, and falls occur every day. It has likely happened to you – you may be in a hurry and run down a flight of stairs or walking on a deck while reading plans or instructions. You might slip on a slick surface and suddenly your feet go out from under you. Falls can also be caused by tripping on an obstacle - your feet get caught but your body keeps moving. Accidents like these can result in a simple bump or bruise, or a more serious injury. The extent of injuries and their recurrence can be minimized through proper safety knowledge and attitudes. 

A recent study of all ALMA claims from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019 revealed:

  • Fall injuries represent 33% of the total cost of claims.
  • Same-level slips, trips, and falls account for 10% of the total incurred cost of claims.
  • The average claim cost for an injury involving a slip, trip or fall is $27,000.


Common Causes of Falls from Same Level

According to the National Safety Council, workers are injured from slips, trips, and falls more than any other occupational injury. Some common causes include:

  • Poor housekeeping
  • Lack of designated walkways
  • Workers not watching where they are walking
  • Wet, slippery working/walking surfaces
  • Lighting in the work area
  • Worker footgear

Photos illustrating some common slip/trip/fall exposures in both shipyards and marine cargo handling facilities can be found on the Safety Focus: Falls From Same Level page on the ALMA member resource website.

OSHA Rules Related to Falls From Scaffolds and Ladders

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency that enforces safety and health regulations in the United States, has set forth requirements to protect workers from fall hazards in all industries. These requirements are mandatory and must be implemented anywhere fall hazards exist.

Specific OSHA rules for shipyards, marine terminals, general industry, and longshoring are listed on the Safety Focus: Falls From Same Level page on the ALMA member resource website.


Best Practices for Preventing Falls from Same Level

The average person takes 10,000 steps per day. That is 10,000 times a day they could potentially slip, trip or fall. Here are some best safety practices for reducing these types of injuries at your facility:

  • Implement a slip/trip/fall safety policy
  • Require supervisors to conduct daily safety inspections
  • Provide training during New Hire Safety Orientation
  • Conduct training during regular toolbox meetings
  • Constant oversight by all levels of management
  • Implement accountability for workers and supervisors


Exclusive for ALMA Members: Falls From Same Level Resource Site

As part of our monthly Safety Focus initiative, the ALMA member resource website has a page providing safety resources related to falls from same level. Resources include:

  • OSHA rules related to falls from same level
  • Common slip and trip exposures
  • Common causes and systems to eliminate slip and trip hazards
  • Sample safety policies for housekeeping, foot protection, and access to vessels/drydocks
  • A presentation about avoiding falls from same level
  • Template for weekly supervisors inspections
  • Sample safety policy for same level falls
  • Fall protection guidance document
  • Toolbox talks
  • Safety bulletins 
ALMA members may access that page by clicking here (login required). If you have not yet registered for access, click here to do so.

The opinions and comments expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of ALMA, AEU or Amwins. None of ALMA, AEU, Amwins or the authors are responsible for any inaccuracy of content or for any loss or damages incurred by any party as a result of reliance on information contained in this article. Content may not be published or reproduced without the written consent of the authors. Prior articles may not be updated for accuracy as pertinent information changes over time. The Longshore Insider is intended to provide general information about the industry and should not be construed as legal advice under any circumstances. For legal advice, please consult a licensed attorney.
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