The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has initiated a campaign to prevent falls on construction sites. Included in its plan are steps employers should take to ensure their workers are properly protected on the job site. Those steps include:
- Planning ahead to do the job safely
- Providing appropriate equipment
- Training all employees to safely use the equipment
According to OSHA, 774 construction workers died while on the job in 2010. Of those fatalities, 264 were the result of falls, making falls the most common cause of death for construction workers on the job. In addition, falls from heights can have other severe consequences for the workers involved, including serious head injuries.
Construction workers are faced with dangerous situations regularly, often on a daily basis. To perform their duties, construction workers’ job sites are frequently located far above ground level, on scaffolding, ladders or roofs. When it comes to working at a significant height, it is imperative that employers take proper safety precautions to ensure their workers are not at risk of a fall.
If an employee is working six feet above the ground or higher, OSHA regulations require the worker to use a “personal fall arrest system,” which includes either a safety harness or a barrier around the edge of the area where the employee is working.
Unfortunately, the proper safety equipment is not always provided to employees. Additionally, in some situations where the right equipment has been provided, employees are not trained on how to use the safety equipment properly. As a result, falls continue to be a common concern among construction workers.
Source: WorkersCompensation.com, “Common Mistakes that Cause Falls on Construction Sites,” Michael B. Stack, June 28, 2012.