Falls are responsible for a large percentage of workplace injuries. Whether it is tripping over an object, slipping and falling on a wet floor, or falling from a ladder, they can all be very dangerous. While it is obviously best to avoid falls entirely, there are some things you can do to help minimize your risk of injury should a fall occur. Learning how to fall as safely as possible will help you to be prepared should something happen.
How To Fall Safely
Protect Your Head: Your head is the most important part of your body, and is susceptible to serious injuries during a fall. The first thing to learn when working on falling safely is to protect your head. This is done by putting your chin down toward your chest, and then pulling your hands up on top of the head. If you are falling face first, turn your head to the side to avoid a direct facial injury. Ideally, your arms will absorb the bulk of the force, keeping your head safe.
Turn or Roll into the Fall: Whenever possible, it is best to roll or turn into the fall. This will take some of the momentum from the fall and transfer it into the roll rather than directly into your body. When learning how to roll out of a fall it can be quite awkward at first. If possible, it is a good idea to have people practice this action on a mat or other safe surface until they are comfortable.
Keep Your Limbs Loose: The natural instinct for people falling is to stiffen up the arms and legs to try to protect the core and head. Having your arms and legs held straight, however, will actually cause more damage than if they were relaxed. Keeping both your arms and legs bent will allow them to absorb the fall better, and prevent serious injuries. In addition, this will make it easier to roll through the fall, thus further dispersing the energy safely.
Spread the Impact: If you have enough time to position yourself during the fall, it is best to spread the impact out over as much of the body as possible. This is especially helpful for falls from low to moderate height. By spreading the impact across the length of the body, you are much less likely to break a bone or suffer other serious injuries.
Of course, falling is never going to be entirely safe. Whenever in the workplace, it is important to do everything possible to reduce the risk of falls in the first place. This can be done by using signs alerting people to obstacles or hazards, following proper ladder practices, and more.
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