OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) – Construction Sector to create a nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among employers and workers about fall hazards in construction and how they can be prevented. In 2010, of the 774 total fatalities in the construction industry, 264 fatalities from caused by falls.
By following three simple steps, falls can be prevented. The steps include:
• planning ahead to get the job done safely
• providing the right equipment
• training everyone to use the equipment safely
By planning ahead for work from heights, decisions can be made on what tasks will be involved in completing the work, the safest way to do the job, and what safety equipment may be needed for each task. Safety equipment and tools can be included in the estimate of the cost of a job.
To provide safety for workers doing a job at six feet or more above lower levels, the correct equipment and fall protection must be provided, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear. For roof work, personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) which may included harness that worker ties to an anchor may be required. The PFAS must fit the worker and the equipment must be inspected regularly to ensure it is in good condition and safe for use.
Workers must be trained in proper set-up and use of safety equipment they must use to complete a particular job. Employers must also train workers to recognize fall hazards involved in the work to be done.
As part of the Fall Prevention Campaign, many resources have been provided by OSHA and it’s partners. Print materials such as posters, fact sheets, booklets, and e-tools are available. A number of training videos are available that cover specific tasks which include fall risks. Links are provided on the OSHA website to publications and other educational materials from many sources which cover risks and prevention of falls in construction work. In addition to English language materials, there are training materials available in Spanish, as well as some in Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese.
Specific topics covered in training workers about fall prevention include ladder safety, scaffold safety, and roof safety. Videos provided cover particular types of work where falls hazards are common in construction including: floor openings, fixed scaffolds, bridge decking, reproofing, and leading edge work, and a more general video on fall prevention produced by California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE).
To learn more about OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign and to access training and educational resources visit http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/index.html.