I was disturbed by the recent announcement of 2011 fall fatality statistics for more reasons than one.
- Despite our efforts—and those of employers, vendors and regulators—fall fatalities have increased since 2008. The numbers are up, in spite of the decline in overall workplace fatalities and a regulatory focus on fall protection.
- Twenty-five percent of fall fatalities occurred from a height of 10 feet or less. Even when people “aren’t that high up,” falls can be fatal.
- The connotation of 666 deaths makes it even more scary and foreboding.
In reality, if 666 people were killed in groups, like several plane crashes (scary, since I’m editing this on a plane) or other dramatic public events, society would be outraged, demanding answers. But, because fall fatalities happen one at a time in isolated incidents, they are typically mourned one family and community at a time.
The number 666 should not only translate as scary to us—it should be outrageous that this many lives are lost to falls. Seeing these numbers reignites LJB’s mission to protect workers at heights. What are you doing to make sure your people are protected? Let us know what’s working for your organization, and we’ll post some answers in a follow-up post.