Working at Heights-Fall Protection in Construction
Falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities in the construction industry. Of 971 construction worker deaths in the calendar year 2017, almost 40% (381) of them were caused by falls. Falls also cause many non-fatal injuries. Such injuries can be minor or very serious. Besides setbacks and lost wages for employees, injuries cause employers to incur fines for OSHA violations and increase the cost of workers’ compensation. Fall hazards are present at many worksites but are most prevalent at construction sites; falls at construction sites represent almost half of all work-related falls annually.
Construction fatalities from falls are preventable. Lack of fall protection is the most frequently cited OSHA violation, but fall-related deaths are also attributed to not using available personal fall arrest systems or using fall protection incorrectly. However, access to protective equipment is not enough to keep workers safe. A report released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that twenty percent of fall fatalities occurred within the first two months of the victim’s time on the job. Fall protection training ensures that workers use the equipment correctly and consistently.
Effective construction fall protection is a two-step process that involves comprehensive training and correct use of safety equipment. If one or both of these components is neglected, working conditions will be dangerous for everyone at the job site. Case and site-specific conditions determine which safety equipment is the right solution to prevent injuries.
According to the National Safety Council, every dollar invested in fall protection and injury prevention can save companies $4 in indirect costs. Frequent training, regular health and safety meetings, site inspections, and OSHA training related to construction accidents result in fewer injuries, lower costs, and better working conditions for everyone.
OSHA requires fall protection when construction workers conduct activities six feet or higher above a lower level. Landing on the wrong body part or surface can prove fatal even if a worker falls a short distance. If working above dangerous equipment or hazardous materials, fall protection is required regardless of distance. Different fall hazards require different kinds of protective tools and equipment, which is why employers and workers should plan ahead to determine the protective equipment needed for each job. Guardrails, safety netting, and personal fall arrest systems are among the most common forms of fall protection. Use of each type requires special training.
Fall protection is used most effectively when it is part of a comprehensive training and education program. According to OSHA standards, any employee who might be exposed to fall hazards must receive training on recognizing and preventing fall hazards. Fall protection training online enables workers to work at their own pace from anywhere with an internet connection—at home, at work, and more. The course material is appropriate for new employees and those in need of retraining. Once a worker successfully completes the course, they will have access to a printable construction fall protection training certificate and wallet card.
Take the first step toward ensuring workplace safety with high quality, easy-to-use online training courses. Stay OSHA-compliant and keep employees safe across a variety of construction industries with Compliance Training Online.