Falls are the leading cause of death in construction.
So with the 2013 construction season in full swing, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration re-launched its fall prevention campaign. OSHA’s campaign materials include free posters, factsheets, safety videos, stickers, and web materials. Small business owners can take advantage of OSHA’s free Fall Prevention Campaign materials by visiting the agency’s special website.
Why is fall protection important?
Falls are among the most common causes of serious work related injuries and deaths. In 2010, there were 264 fall fatalities out of 774 total fatalities in construction. These deaths are preventable.
What can be done to reduce falls?
Employers must set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls. The OSHA website provides additional information on employer requirements and ways to prevent falls.To prevent employees from being injured from falls, employers must:
- Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).
- Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
- Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat or acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
- Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety and harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to OSHA’s Regional & Area Offices web page or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Updated May 13, 2013