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Fall Protection: A Matter of Life and Death

Construction worker climbing to the top of a steel beam high rise building projectFalls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry. In 2013 alone, falls claimed the lives of nearly 700 construction workers. Many employers overlook the importance of workplace safety training, a growing concern among roofing professionals. An OSHA online fall protection course teaches managers, supervisors and team leaders how to minimize fall risk and establish safeguards to minimize potential injury should a fall occur.

The Roeder Construction Case

In September 2014, a 42-year-old roofing professional fell to his death. His 25-year-old coworker sustained severe injury while attempting to break his partner’s fall. OSHA investigators found that their managers at Roeder Construction failed to establish fall prevention and protection measures. While both workers had experience installing and repairing roofs, lack of preparation brought about serious consequences.​

Roeder Construction was cited on three safety violations:

  1. Failure to provide fall protection
  2. Failure to educate and train workers in fall protection
  3. Failure to report the accident within 8 hours

With roughly 800,000 Americans employed in the residential construction sector alone, employers must address safety in the workplace. Knowledge and experience in construction are valuable skills, but without proper fall protection practices, one misstep can turn an otherwise straightforward project into tragedy.

During a fall, gravity can generate deadly momentum in just a few feet. OSHA guidelines require fall protection systems to be in place during activities six feet or higher from the ground. OSHA workplace safety courses teach supervisors not only how to prevent falls, but also help instill a culture of safety crucial for businesses to thrive.

OSHA Online Fall Prevention Courses

Worker with personal protection equipment and uniform Designed for all construction professionals, our OSHA online Fall Prevention Course provides detailed instruction on minimizing fall risk in the workplace. Professionals taking the course learn the role of personal protective equipment (PPE) in preventing injury at various elevations. Video tutorials demonstrate how to set up this equipment in residential work, industrial projects, and high-rise construction projects, which demand a great attention to correct usage of these workplace safety items.

Many falls occur close to unguarded corners or edges. In the Fall Prevention Course, managers learn how to protect their employees from these risks by establishing guardrail barriers, hole covers, and other fall prevention systems. The course also teaches which implements to use in various situations. For example, different heights may alter the effectiveness of safety nets and harnesses. After completing the course, managers should be able to explain and demonstrate these processes to their employees.

Workers who enroll in the Fall Prevention Course receive first-hand knowledge they can use to better protect themselves and coworkers across various construction projects.

Additional Fall Prevention Resources

OSHA’s website provides outlines, videos, and other valuable resources to help companies establish effective safety programs. The resources are part of OSHA’s Fall Prevention initiative, which began in 2012. The project aims to maximize the depth, scope, and accessibility of fall prevention information. Coupled with an OSHA online Fall Prevention Course, these resources can help employers set clear fall prevention guidelines, invest in effective safety equipment and systems, and continue to train workers to practice safety.