Falls at construction sites continue to be the leading cause of death for construction workers. Around 37% of all construction worker deaths are from falls. OSHA’s campaign is striving to raise awareness among workers and employers nationwide about the dangers of falls from heights on ladders, scaffolds and roofs.
On May 8-12, OSHA will hold its fourth annual National Fall Prevention Stand-Down. OSHA describes the event as “an opportunity for employers to have a conversation with employees about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies and goals. It can also be an opportunity for employees to talk to management about fall hazards they see.” Employers are encouraged to halt work and hold a “toolbox-talk” with employees about hazards and fall prevention.
OSHA promotes a three step approach to prevent falls and save lives. Those three steps are Plan, Provide, and Train. Employers should plan ahead to create a safe work environment. They can do this by deciding how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment will be required to complete each task safely. When determining what is needed to complete a job, employers should look not only at the materials needed but also the safety equipment needed to perform the task as safely as possible. This is where the second step comes in which is to provide the right equipment. Employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job. That includes proper ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear to protect their workers. And the final step is to train. It is not enough to have the proper safety equipment if it is not properly used by the worker. Training in hazard recognition and proper use of safety equipment is essential to a safe construction site.
OSHA has numerous materials and resources on their website for employers to use to train and inform workers on safe work practices to avoid falls in construction.