If you’re in the construction biz, you probably know someone who has been injured—or worse—by a job site fall.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have an ongoing partnership with the National Safety Council (NSC) to promote worker safety and reduce the number of injuries and deaths from on-the-job falls. The partnership is also aimed at minimizing other construction hazards, supporting injury and illness prevention programs and promoting motor vehicle safety.
The OSHA Alliance Program brings together various agencies, including unions, businesses , schools, consulates, trade and professional organizations, and faith- and community-based organizations to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Each alliance aims to help employers and their workers be aware of their rights and responsibilities.
Employers are obligated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to provide safe and healthful workplaces for all their workers. Most employers now require OSHA training of their workers to ensure legal compliance. OSHA sets and enforces standards and provides training and assistance to all workers.
NSC is a not-for-profit, public service group that provides education, training programs, materials, consulting services, and advocacy on various safety and health concerns. NSC represents 14,000 employers nationwide and more than six million employees.
Falls result in death more than any other construction site accident. OSHA is coordinating with the NSC to develop fact sheets on the benefits of injury and illness prevention programs. They’ll also collaborate on identifying workplace hazards and topics that should be included in worker training. The alliance will develop a case study on preventing falls in construction, with a focus on the causes and on how employers can institute a reliable fall prevention program.
OSHA guidelines require employers to plan projects to ensure that jobs are done safely. When work will be done from heights (often from atop ladders, scaffolds and roofs), a plan must be made that incorporates the safety equipment needed to complete each task.
When preparing an estimate of the cost of a job, employers should factor in safety equipment and make sure they have all the necessary equipment and tools at the construction site. Appropriate fall protection may include personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) and the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds and safety gear.
If you work in construction you already know that different ladders and scaffolds are appropriate for different jobs. If you’re using personal fall arrest systems, make sure the PFAS fits, and inspect all fall protection equipment to be sure it’s still in good condition. Also be sure there is a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor.
Construction workers need training on the specific equipment they will use on the job. Employers are responsible for making sure they get that training. OSHA has numerous materials and resources that employers can use to train workers on safe practices to avoid falls in construction.
Falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented and lives can be saved through planning, being prepared and having the right training.