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Why construction site falls happen and how to prevent them

Of the many different types of injuries that can result in death on a construction site, falls took first place in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) survey of construction-related fatalities in 2015. In fact, in that year alone, there were some 350 construction workers that were killed as a result of falling, more than a third of 937 deaths which occurred on construction sites altogether.

OSHA notes that these falls were all preventable. They emphasize the importance of employees learning more about potential hazards associated with working on roofs, ladders and scaffolds to reduce the number of construction worker deaths from falls. Among the most vulnerable are thought to be those workers with limited English abilities.

To reduce the risk of worker injury, OSHA has devised a three-pronged educational initiative. The three steps involve planning, providing and training.

Planning is an important step to ensure that a product is completed successfully. This involves taking into consideration what steps are going to be followed and the equipment necessary to complete a certain task. To this end, OSHA recommends that employers make bids for projects that allow them to purchase the necessary safety equipment to protect staff. It also emphasizes the importance of having a fall protection plan in place.

As for the idea of providing, OSHA emphasizes that employees asked to work at a height of six feet or more above the ground are all at significant risk for falls. As such, these individuals should be be given necessary safety gear to do their jobs such as including scaffolds and ladders.

When it comes to roofers, OSHA particularly recommends the use of personal fall arrest systems (PFAS). They also recommend that an employer regularly inspects their PFAS system to make sure it is in working order.

Last, as for training, OSHA reinforces the fact that falls are most easily prevented when staff not only has access to all necessary safety equipment, but is properly trained in using it. Additionally, supervisors on construction sites should take it upon themselves to ensure its workers are aware of potential safety hazards.

If you have been seriously injured or know someone who has been killed as the result of working on an unsafe construction site, a Santa Ana, California, workplace injuries attorney can provide advice in your legal matter.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Welcome to OSHA's Fall Prevention Campaign," accessed April 12, 2017

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