According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of construction deaths. In 2010, fatalities from falls accounted for 278 out of 775 deaths in the construction industry.
To curb such deaths and injuries, OSHA has joined forces with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). The Construction Nationwide Safety Awareness Campaign is comprehensive and based on three key steps for employers:
Plan for Safety. To ensure safety on job sites that involve working from heights, plan how the project will be done and the tools needed. When estimating job costs, include these resources and have them available on site. For example, on a roofing job, think about such potential fall hazards – holes, sky-light, leading edges, etc. – and then select appropriate fall protection equipment, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS).
Provide Proper Equipment. Provide workers who are six feet or more above lower levels with fall protection and the necessary equipment including ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear. If roof work is involved, have a PFAS with a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor. Make sure the device fits and inspect all equipment regularly.
Train Workers. Finally, give workers “toolbox talk” training on potential fall hazards and the set-up and use of the safety equipment they’ll be using. The OSHA campaign has a number of training tools, job site posters, and other educational resources – (many of which target workers with limited English proficiency).
To learn more about how to keep your workers from falling down (literally) on the job, feel free to get in touch with our construction insurance specialists.