When looking at falls on the job, there are many factors to consider. The most common, of course, is height. Technically, you could suffer catastrophic injuries from simply falling on the same level, like slipping on a wet floor and tumbling, especially if you hit your head on a hard surface. But the reality is that the height of a fall usually dictates the level of severity, with higher falls carrying a greater chance of serious injuries or death.
However, the equation to determine the amount of energy in a fall, which relates directly to the severity of the injuries, also contains the mass of the person who is falling. The energy involved in the fall is a mix of the distance, speed and mass. This implies that a larger worker could suffer greater injuries in a fall than a smaller worker if all other factors were the same. For instance, if a 100-pound female worker fell from a 10-foot ladder, she may have far less significant injuries than a 250-pound man who falls off of the same ladder onto the same surface.
To back this up, consider that researchers who study fatal falls have discovered that children often live through falls that adults would not have survived. The height can be greater for a child. The reason, they believe, is that a child’s mass is so much less and this reduces the energy in the equation, allowing for greater height.
Have you suffered serious injuries in a fall at work, perhaps in the construction industry? If so, regardless of size, age, gender or any other variables, it is important for you to know what legal options you have.