One of the most hazardous trades in the country is construction work. Out of 1,000 construction workers that will succumb to fatal injuries this year, 33 percent will be caused by falls at construction sites. The most common fall accident in construction are falls from roofs.
Construction site falls happen when workers fail to use protection equipment or fail to use it properly. Unstable working surfaces, as well as human error at construction sites, also causes falls. Fall accidents often result in serious construction worker injuries and in the most tragic cases, the worker is fatally injured.
When used correctly, guard rails, safety nets, hole covers, and restraint systems can prevent many construction accident injuries and construction worker fatalities.
Preventing Workplace Fall Accidents
OSHA has developed a three step guideline for employers to use in order to prevent construction workers from falling at construction sites. The three steps are as follows:
PLAN: Employers must study all aspects of the job before putting anyone on a construction site. It must be determined what safety equipment will be needed to complete the work and the cost of that equipment must be included in the budget. Different tasks often require different types of safety precautions. It is also important to make sure that heavy equipment will not be overloaded when being used on construction sites.
PROVIDE: Employers need to provide the proper equipment for construction workers which allows for a construction site to be a safe working environment. Workers should be required to use properly fitting safety harnesses. Aerial lifts and platforms should be used instead of ladders whenever possible. When ladders are necessary, employers need to ensure that the ladders provided meet the needs for the particular task. Scaffolding must be accurately assembled. Moreover, secure and sturdy materials must be used when covering holes in floors.
TRAIN: To ensure safety, it is crucial that employers educate workers so they can recognize potential hazards at construction sites and know what to do to prevent dangerous situations that could result in construction accidents. Construction workers must also be trained in how to use safety equipment as well as how to maintain the safety equipment. The number of construction accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities can be greatly reduced by employers who adhere to OSHA’s guidelines, continually update safety equipment, and consistently train workers on the proper ways to prevent devastating construction accident falls.