Falls at construction sites are a major cause of construction workers’ deaths. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), 291 of the 828 construction-related deaths in 2013 were caused by falls on the job site. Sadly, many of these deaths could have been prevented if the employers practiced three simple safety measures.
Three Simple Steps to Prevent Construction Worker Falls and Deaths
Falls from heights of six feet or more above lower levels result in serious injuries and even death. But falls are easily preventable if employers would follow OSHA’s three simple guidelines:
- Plan ahead. Employers need to plan ahead when a project involves working from heights—such as ladders, scaffolds, and roofs—by deciding in advance how the job will be done and what safety equipment will be needed to complete each task safely.
- Provide the right equipment. Different jobs require different ladders and scaffolds to ensure that workers stay safe. In addition, for workers working six feet or more above lower levels, employers need to utilize the Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS). This involves the use of safety equipment—such as body harnesses, anchors, and horizontal lifelines (another type of anchor)—to help prevent injuries if the construction worker falls.
- Train workers. It is critical that employers train their workers to recognize safety hazards and to use ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems, and other equipment they will be using safely.
Unfortunately, many employers do not follow these simple, inexpensive safety measures, and the result is that construction workers suffer avoidable and life-threatening injuries and death. Injuries from a fall can result in well over $100,000 in medical bills and lost wages, as well as the physical and emotional hardship the employee and his family suffers.
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