What to do in the Case of a Fall Injury
For last month’s Safety Tips article, we featured a concise list of important things to do and not to do if you want to prevent falls, either on the jobsite or the household. But what do you do if even under the best of circumstance, someone suffers a bad fall?
According to AMG’s Donald Duvall, MDTA Construction Safety Auditor, it is imperative that a person trained in First Aid, CPR and AED is always on a construction site. “Only he or she can administer the proper care for an injured worker,” he warns. “Depending on the injury from the fall such as a broken arm, leg or other bone, or head injury such as a concussion, etc., it’s best to call 911 immediately.”
“Once the injured employee is cared for by the emergency response team and removed from the site, a safety person comes in to start the investigation,” Don explains. It is important to determine exactly what happened, why it happened and decide mitigation strategies to ensure in never happens again.
Photos may be taken of the accident site and potential causes, but absolutely no photos are to be taken of the individual who suffered the injury!
If a family member or guest suffers a serious fall in your home, immediately call 911 to get medical treatment. Try to make the person as calm and comfortable as possible, but do not move him or her. You may even discourage the fall vicitim from twisting or trying to get up and ask him or her to remain as still as possible to avoid exacerbating the injury. Emergency responders are better trained at moving fall victims, so leave it to the experts. If necessary, try to control any bleeding by applying pressure and a clean bandage. If the person is unconscious, check for any breathing obstructions. If the fall was outside, such as on a patch of ice, provide extra blankets or other coverings to keep that person warm until emergency responders arrive.
If a fall does not need medical attention, it is still prudent to ask the person to move slowly and carefully. Watch for bruising or swelling and provide a wrapped ice pack for any area that begins to show these signs. Do not apply ice directly to bare skin.
Both shock and the body’s ability to create endorphins upon injury can sometimes mask the pain of a break or bad sprain, so continue to observe the injury and, if necessary, take the person to the ER or urgent care doctor to be on the safe