May 11th, 2015 10:55 am ET - Elizabeth P. Garza, M.P.H.; Scott Earnest, Ph.D., P.E., C.S.P.; and Christine M. Branche, Ph.D., FACE
The construction industry is one of the most dangerous, and within construction, falls are the leading cause of death and injury. Every year, workers fall from ladders and roofs, down stairs, through floors and holes, and off of scaffolding. In 2013 across the United States, three-hundred and five construction workers died because of a fall. These fatalities were preventable.
For the last three years, NIOSH has participated with partners including OSHA, CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training, and the NORA Construction Sector Council in the National Fall Prevention Stand-Down. Over this two-week stand-down (May 4-15) participating companies are having toolbox talks about preventing falls. They are developing rescue plans, conducting equipment safety inspections, and providing training to their employees.
A wealth of materials are available free of charge at www.stopconstructionfalls.com to companies that want to protect their workers from falls.
- Toolbox Talks available from CPWR cover topics such as ladders , extension ladders , aerial lifts , roofs , skylights and holes , and scaffolding .
- FACE reports detail fatality investigations performed by NIOSH. The reports identify factors that contributed to fatalities.
- The Ladder App for Apple and Android, developed by NIOSH, is a tool that enables a smartphone to gauge whether a ladder has been placed at a safe angle.
- Falls Prevention Training Guide: A Lesson Plan for Employers is a guide from OSHA designed to help employers give fall prevention training to their employees.
- Videos are available that cover many aspects of fall safety:
- Job Hazard Analysis provided by Maine’s Department of Labor provides instructions forhow to identify workplace hazards.
- The Personal Fall Arrest Harness checklist is a printable form that can be used to aid in equipment inspections from com.
These—and many other resources—give tools to managers so they can provide fall prevention training and otherwise improve conditions at the worksite.
The stand-down serves as an important opportunity for worksites to recognize the hazards that cause falls, and to train employers and workers how to avoid them so that these senseless tragedies can be prevented once and for all.
NIOSH wants to hear from you how you are keeping your workers safe from construction-related falls.
Elizabeth P. Garza, M.P.H.; Scott Earnest, Ph.D., P.E., C.S.P.; and Christine M. Branche, Ph.D., FACE
LCDR Garza is Assistant Coordinator for the Construction Sector in the NIOSH Office of the Director
Dr. Earnest is Coordinator for the Construction Sector in the NIOSH Office of the Director
Dr. Branche is Principal Associate Director and Director, Office of Construction Safety and Health