Accidental falls are the most common cause of death among construction workers, both in Colorado and throughout the United States. In 2010, 264 construction workers were killed in falling accidents nationwide, representing approximately 34 percent of all construction accident deaths.
Most falls can be prevented with proactive safety measures. Over the last several months, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been conducting a campaign to raise awareness of fall hazards and steps that can be taken to make construction sites safer.
OSHA recommends that construction employers use the following strategies to keep their workers safe from falls:
Make a safety plan: Before a project starts, employers should evaluate the jobsite to determine what safety risks exist and how to best mitigate those risks. To that end, employers should plan ahead to determine what safety equipment will be needed. The cost of that equipment should be factored into the cost of the project.
Use the right equipment: The risk of falling can be prevented by using appropriate safety equipment. However, it is important to note that not every piece of equipment is appropriate for every job. Employers should always choose scaffolds and ladders that are well-suited to the particular job site. In situations where workers use personal fall arrest systems, the employer should provide a properly-fitting harness for each worker who uses the system.
Train all workers: Even the best safety equipment won't do any good if workers do not know how to use it correctly. Before a job starts, employers should teach workers how to recognize job site hazards and how to use safety equipment to prevent workplace injuries.
By employing these tips, Colorado construction employers can help make their job sites safer for all workers.
Source: U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Welcome to OSHA's Fall Prevention Campaign."