Workers do need to understand that all falls are dangerous. A fall on a level surface — i.e., with no distance traveled at all, such as in a slip-and-fall accident — can lead to serious injuries. They just get more serious the higher a person is when they fall.
When you reach significant heights, though, the odds of surviving such a fall become virtually non-existent. This is why fall-prevention equipment is so important when working at these heights.
Your odds of survival definitely diminish at greater heights
Researchers have studied these falls to see when a fatality is all but guaranteed. In a study that looked at 287 different falls, it was determined that a 100-foot fall was unsurvivable. This is about eight stories of a modern building.
But is anything actually 100%? The researchers also found the case of a rock climber who allowed her rope to pass through her harness at the top of a 300-foot route. She fell off of the route and all the way to the ground, bouncing after about 200 feet and coming to rest on rock 100 feet beyond that. She was definitely injured, but she lived.
What to do if you’ve been injured in a fall at work
These types of studies help to show how there are always outliers and you can never assume anything about workplace accidents. However, they also show how severe injuries can be even for those who do survive. If you work at heights, you need to understand the risks and your rights to workers’ comp if you’re injured in a fall.