Falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths in construction. It is essential that employers set up jobsites to prevent employees from falling from overhead platforms, elevated workstations or into holes in the floor and walls.
Since 2012, OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) – Construction Sector on a Fall Prevention Campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about common fall hazards in construction, and how falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented. As OSHA highlights in its outreach campaign, falls can be prevented and lives can be saved through three important and highly effective steps: Plan, Provide and Train.
PLAN ahead to get the job done safely
Employers must plan projects that involve working from heights to ensure that the job is done safely by deciding how the job will be done, the tasks involved and the safety equipment that may be needed to complete each task.
PROVIDE the right equipment
To protect workers who are six feet or more above lower levels, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds and safety gear. If workers need personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) for roof work, employers should provide a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to an anchor and make sure the PFAS fits and is regularly inspected.
TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely
Every worker should be trained to recognize hazards and to properly set-up and safely use equipment required for his/her job. OSHA has provided numerous materials and resources to train workers on safe practices to avoid falls in construction.
Employers who design a thorough fall protection plan, provide the right equipment and train their workers on hazard awareness and the proper use of safety equipment will be well on their way to establishing a workplace that greatly reduces falling hazards, complies with OSHA standards and ultimately saves lives.