The construction industry in general has more fatal accidents than any other industries in the United States. Each year, about one-fifth of all worker fatalities occur in the construction industry. Construction’s “fatal four” causes of death are falls, followed by being struck by an object, electrical accidents, and caught-in-between two heavy or immobile objects.
Falls, though, remain the biggest problem over time. Falls from any height can cause severe injury, but people who work six feet or more above the ground or a lower level are at the greatest risk for serious injury or death if they should fall.
One important way to prevent construction fatalities resulting from falls is to provide the right fall protection equipment for workers. Personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) have harnesses designed to protect construction workers who are working at heights of six feet or more from serious injury and death. It’s also important to note that safety gear is situation-specific. In many fatal accidents, workers did not have appropriate safety gear for the work they were performing at the time. To protect these workers, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the specific job or situation, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
However, even the right equipment in the right situation will not provide protection for construction workers if it is not used correctly. Another top cause of worker accidents and deaths is poor training. In addition to using the right safety equipment, construction workers must also be properly trained to use equipment.
Want to learn more? OSHA provides these tips for ladder, scaffold and roof safety along with these safety materials and resources for employers to train their employees to become aware of fall dangers.