Did you know that construction has the most fatal falls of all industries? In 2017, fatal falls accounted for 366 of 971 total construction fatalities and represented more than 1/2 (51%) of ALL work-related falls nation-wide! Small construction companies, those with 10 of fewer employees, account for 61% of the 51% nation-wide fatal falls; that’s 114 of the 366 fatal falls. What does this tell us? This tells us we need to do more! There are three simple steps to preventing falls:
Plan work according to safety laws and regulations – they are there to help you; plan tailgate safety meetings prior to the star of each shift to remind employees how to stay safe while working on dangerous work activities or around possible hazards; and have a rescue plan to prevent suspension trauma.
Employers must provide effective fall protection for workers who are working at 6 feet or higher by providing either: personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), safety net systems, or guardrail systems. Fall protection training programs on these protection methods must also be provided to workers who might be exposed to fall hazards. Employees should also provide all workers with properly fitting personal protective equipment (PPE). Poorly fitted fall protection harness are ineffective and can cause fall injuries or death. The wrong length lanyard can also cause serious issues so plan accordingly!
Before work begins train workers on self and assisted rescues, working conditions, the proper use of fall arrest systems, and job specific tasks. Immigrant workers were one of the highest risk employees for fatal falls in 2017; provide all training in a language that the employees can understand.