According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are a top cause of death in the construction industry. In 2013, falls were responsible for 291 construction worker deaths. Sadly, many of these fatalities were avoidable. Unsafe equipment and lack of training often contribute to serious injuries and deaths.
National Fall Prevention Campaign
OSHA says the majority of construction fall accidents involve roofs, ladders, and scaffolding, however, height is not always the reason behind a fall-related injury.
Catastrophic injuries can also happen when a worker falls from a relatively modest height, and some construction workers have suffered devastating injuries after falling from six feet or less.
To lower the number of fall-related injuries on construction sites, OSHA has launched a Fall Prevention Campaign across the nation. The campaign emphasizes the importance of safety equipment, careful planning, and thorough training to lower the number of falls on job sites.
Highlights of the campaign include:
- Encouraging construction companies and other employers to incorporate the cost of safety equipment in their job estimates
- Stressing the importance of adequate safety equipment for employees who work six feet or more above lower levels
- Training construction workers on the specific equipment required to perform their jobs, including fall protection systems, ladders, and scaffolds
- Educating workers about hazard recognition
Job site hazards go hand in hand with the construction industry, but construction companies have a responsibility to plan properly, educate their workers, and prepare for hazards.
Many job sites have unsafe holes in walking surfaces. Jobs may also lack railings and floor coverings that can prevent injuries. Whenever a worker is performing a job six feet or more above a walking surface, he or she should use a safety harness, safety line, or other equipment.