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The Dangers of Same-Level Falls and How to Prevent Them

By Alliant Specialty

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Workplace falls are often associated with an exposure to vertical heights, such as ladders or rooftops. However, it is equally important to consider the dangers of falls on a single level. From uneven footways to debris in walkways, many ground-level obstacles can cause workers to fall and injure themselves on the job.

According to the National Security Council, ground-level falls are the fourth leading cause of Days Away from Work, Job Restriction or Transfer (DART) cases. Same-level falls resulted in 144 worker deaths in 2022 and 414,400 DART cases in 2021-2022.

On top of causing injuries and fatalities, same-level falls can cost your business hundreds to thousands of dollars in lost productivity and medical and administrative expenses. To mitigate your risk and build a culture of safety, you will need the right fall protection protocols in place.

Causes of Same-Level Falls

Same-level falls can have just as drastic consequences as lower-level falls, so it’s critical that your business identifies fall hazards before it’s too late. These can include:

  • Water puddles
  • Grease, oil or sawdust
  • Uncovered or loose cords and cables
  • Worksite materials in walkways
  • Poor lighting and obstructed views
  • Uneven walking surfaces
  • Inadequate footwear
  • Unsecured mats or rugs

Same-level falls can also be influenced by the weather when working outside. For example, icy conditions in the winter or muddy conditions during rainy seasons can quickly lead to slips and falls. While you can’t control the weather, you can put safety procedures in place that promote fall protection for your employees, whether they are working inside or outside.

Strategies to Avoid Same-Level Falls

Ground-level falls are largely preventable. By cutting down on the number of these incidents, your business can improve employee well-being, boost productivity and save money. Use these best practices to protect your workers:

Employees may not view hazards like uncovered cords or oily floors as substantial risks, and as a result, will likely ignore them. This can cause an unsuspecting employee who isn’t paying close attention to their surroundings to slip and fall.

To create a robust safety culture to help prevent falls, encourage a mentality shift in your employees and motivate them to:

  • Stay vigilant and aware of their surroundings and report any hazards promptly.
  • Remove any fallen objects or clutter from walkways.
  • Display warning signs to alert co-workers of wet floors.
  • Dry any spills and lay down floor mats to provide traction.
  • Use floor or ceiling electrical plugs when possible to avoid running cords down walkways.

One of the most effective ways to create a mentality shift in your employees is by using storytelling. Share real-life examples of same-level falls and highlight the consequences to effectively illustrate the importance of hyper-vigilance and adherence to your organization’s safety protocols.

To reduce the number of same-level falls in your workplace, you’ll need to provide the right safety knowledge foundation. Use these tips to get your employees on the same page:

  • Host training sessions that overview your safety protocols and the above fall prevention best practices. Bring up real-life case studies to emphasize the role of fall prevention in protecting workers from injuries and even fatalities.
  • Set goals and relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) to rally everyone around important safety initiatives. For example, you might set a goal to reduce the number of same-level falls in the workplace by 50%. Monitor your progress towards reaching this goal and make adjustments in your safety procedures as needed to minimize falls.
  • Secure buy-in from leadership to create a top-down commitment to ground-level fall prevention. This will help foster an environment where every employee feels responsible for maintaining a safe workplace, thus contributing to a strong safety culture.
  • Create a safety incentive program that rewards employees for adhering to fall prevention procedures. For example, you might offer incentives like shout-outs or free lunches to employees who demonstrate an ongoing commitment to creating a fall-proof environment.

Creating a safety culture requires the collaboration of all employees. Make sure to establish open lines of communication so employees can freely report safety concerns, suggest improvements to your safety protocols or the workplace itself and share experiences without fear of retribution.

Employers have an ethical responsibility and a legal responsibility to maintain a workplace in good condition. OSHA’s fall protection guidelines for employers include:

  • Ensuring working conditions are free from known dangers, such as inadequate lighting, holes and leaks.
  • Maintaining clean and dry floors to prevent accidents.
  • Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) at no cost to workers.
  • Training workers about fall hazards in clear and plain language. 


Failure to comply to these standards can cost an organization more than $16,000 per day for every day an identified issue has not been fixed by OSHA’s deadline. To save your company from these penalties on top of indirect expenses like workers’ compensation claims and legal and compliance fees, it is essential to proactively mitigate risk rather than dealing with the consequences.

Alliant is Your Partner in Fall Protection Safety

Alliant brings decades of experience in helping organizations strengthen their safety and loss control programs. Drawing from our vast knowledge and understanding of regulatory issues and guidelines, we offer personalized risk management solutions that safeguard assets, control costs and promote employee wellness. Contact Alliant today to implement fall protection safety at your organization.

Alliant note and disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance. Please note that prior to implementation your legal counsel should review all details or policy information. Alliant Insurance Services does not provide legal advice or legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please seek the services of your own legal advisor or ask Alliant Insurance Services for a referral. This document is provided on an “as is” basis without any warranty of any kind. Alliant Insurance Services disclaims any liability for any loss or damage from reliance on this document.