Hundreds of people each year are injured by falling from high places or tripping on uneven surfaces. Workers with disabilities are especially susceptible to falling and being injured (secondary disability). The National Council on Aging has a Falls Free Initiative to address the public health issue of fall-related injuries in older adults. In either case of aging or disabling conditions, preventative steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of falling while on the job.
Falling on the job is always a concern for tradesmen because they regularly climb to high places, walk on rough ground, and become fatigued. However, when a disability is involved, such concern grows into a clear and present danger. A person with a mobility impairment such as foot drop can easily trip on cords and hoses on the shop floor. An injured hand can lose grip on a ladder rung and result in a long-distance fall. Diabetic neuropathy will deaden the sensation in an equipment operator’s feet so he cannot feel if his muddy boot begins slipping from the bulldozer step. The risk of falling must be a constant awareness.
The Falls Free Initiative is a national effort led by the National Council on Aging to address the issue of fall-related injuries and deaths. September 23 is the 2014 Falls Prevention Awareness Day. Falls are the leading cause of injury death for older Americans and threaten their safety and independence. In addition to the pain and high cost of rehabilitation, falls severely impact the quality of life. Although a concern, falling is not inevitable. Targeting individual risk factors for falling has been shown to greatly reduce falls-related injuries.
There are 10 myths to be debunked about falls for older adults. These are important to think about and will help prevent falls both in and out of the home. Several of these myths relate to the idea that if “I just stay sitting still, I can’t fall!” The fact is, that physical activity helps keep muscles stronger and healthier. The stronger and healthier a person is, the better control they will have and they will be less likely to fall. Another myth is that using a cane will cause a loss of independence. On the contrary, falling because a cane or walker was not used will cause a person to quickly become dependent on regular care.
With all this danger of falling, the question may be asked if it is really a good idea for an older adult or person with a disability to be working. We know that physical activity is healthy. We know that people are more likely to be active if they can do the work they enjoy. The question is not whether or not a person should be working, but rather how to prevent falls while they work. When the weather starts changing, we prepare. When a worker has a disability, we prepare. Observe the dangers, whether weather or falling, and adjust accordingly.
The necessary adaptations will be different for every situation depending on the worker’s abilities and the necessary tasks on the job. A few common solutions to help prevent falling on the job that we see at Disability Work Tools are rolling ladders, cord reels and pressure washer extension wands. Rolling ladders provide a stable surface for standing and hand rails for support. Cord and hose reels keep walkways in the shop free of clutter, and pressure washer extension wands eliminate the need to climb at all.
Yes, there is danger of falling and being injured when working on the job with a disability. The concern is real, and must be addressed. National organizations are focusing on fall prevention for older adults, and Disability Work Tools has many solutions to help workers prevent falls on the job. Just as when we feel cool weather, we see the dangers of falls on the job, and we prepare appropriately.
What disability work tool could keep you from falling? In honor of Falls Prevention Day, Disability Work Tools is offering a 10% discount on any item purchased for fall prevention purposes. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and describe how the tools will help you keep from falling, and we’ll give send you the coupon code. From now through September 30, get your 10% off!
Jude verses 24 & 25 “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”