According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one out of every five fatal work accidents occurs in the construction industry. Considering that more than one-third of these fatalities are due to falls, it’s in the best interest of construction workers in the Commonwealth of MA and nationwide to familiarize themselves with the dangers of construction falls, and how to avoid them.
To protect workers, OSHA has established fall protection safety standards. Unfortunately, fall protection is the number one OSHA standard to be violated by employers. If you work in the construction industry and have concerns about the safety standards at your workplace, speak up. If your supervisor doesn’t readily address and resolve the issue, contact OSHA. It is OSHA’s duty to investigate claims of workplace safety violations.
OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign
Of the 991 construction deaths in 2016, 370 were falls from high elevations. In partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), OSHA has developed a Fall Prevention Campaign to educate employers and workers about how to prevent falls from roofs, scaffolds, ladders, and other high elevations. The campaign has three main components: Plan, provide, and train.
Working from heights requires proper planning beforehand, to ensure that workers are safe at all times. Planning can include outlining tasks that will be involved, listing necessary safety equipment, identifying potential hazards—such as skylights or leading edges—and deciding which workers have proper training to work from heights. A Boston work injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured on the job.
When it comes to working at high elevations, the right equipment is essential. Any worker who is at least six feet above lower levels must be provided with fall protection equipment. This can include everything from a personal fall arrest system (PFAS) to proper scaffolds and ladders. In addition to providing the equipment, employers must ensure proper fit and that the equipment is well-maintained and in working order.
Any individual who will be working from a high elevation must first receive adequate training. In addition to proper use of safety equipment, workers should be able to identify potential hazards and know how to deal with them. A MA workers’ compensation attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured in a work-related accident.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fall-related construction deaths between 1992 and 2005 occurred from the following places:
- 33% – roofs
- 18% – scaffolding or staging
- 16% – ladders
- 8% – girders or structural steel
- 25% – other
Fortunately, the vast majority of fall-related construction deaths can be easily prevented. You can dramatically reduce your risk of serious injury or death by reporting any fall hazards to your employer, and by contacting OSHA if those hazards are not resolved. Continue reading