Falling objects are a leading cause of California work-related injuries

Falls from heights and falling objects cause numerous injuries and deaths in California.

Earlier this month, a San Diego area man was struck and killed by a tree limb during the course of his employment as a tree-trimmer. A 25-foot branch fell on him while he was in the bucket of a boom truck as he trimmed a tall eucalyptus tree following his third month of employment with a La Mesa company.

When vandals caused a 200-foot radio tower to collapse in the Bay Area last year, no one was near the site. However, with the ever-expanding network of cellphone towers across the nation, more tower workers are suffering serious and sometime fatal injuries due to falls or falling objects from the huge structures. Earlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a warning to industry executives about a "disturbing trend" of increasing worker deaths.

Common workers compensation injuries

Three of the most common workplace injuries are due to worker slips and trips, falls from heights and falling objects. Near-falls - when a person nearly falls down but catches him or herself just in time - are also one of the top causes and can lead to muscle strains, wrenched backs or other bodily injuries.

Slip-and-fall accidents and tripping over objects in the workplace can lead to broken bones, bruised backs, neck injuries or other serious injuries. Falls from ladders, roofs, stairways or structures at construction sites are much more common than the highly publicized cellphone tower accidents but the results can be just as severe. Often, falls in a work environment can be reduced through proper employee training, use of safety equipment and increased awareness and diligence.

Falling objects are most common in the construction industry but can happen in any place of employment. Head injuries are easily caused by a book falling off a shelf, a faulty light fixture crashing down or a co-worker dropping an object down a flight of stairs. While hardhats help construction workers, such protective gear is not appropriate in many work situations.

Help for injured workers

Fortunately, workers compensation benefits are available for those injured in the workplace. Most employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance, which provides medical treatment, lost wages and other benefits to injured employees or their surviving families.

If you have suffered an injury during the course of your employment, seek the counsel of an experienced workers compensation lawyer. An attorney who is knowledgeable about claims against employers and insurance companies can help you obtain compensation to which you are entitled.

Keywords: workers compensation, employee injury, head injury