Kee Safety

White Paper: Construction Site Fall Protection

The role employers play in preventing construction site fatalities and injuries.

The Continuing Need for Fall Protection on the Construction Site


Why Does OSHA Have a Standard for Fall Protection?

The majority of deaths in the construction business historically have been caused by falls, which account for around one-third of all fatalities. For instance, out of the 828 deaths recorded overall in 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 291 fatal falls to a lower level.

OSHA is aware that accidents involving falls are usually complicated occurrences that involve a number of variables. In order to safeguard employees from fall dangers, these fall protection standard address both equipment-related and human-related accidents. The purpose of this document is to provide employees and employers with a better understanding of the standards and rationale for the fall protection standards in construction.

OSHA’s 2021 Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Violations

The following is a list of the top 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites by OSHA for all industries. 

Fatal and nonfatal falls, slips, and trips in the construction industry


2019 saw 1,102 fatal injuries in the construction industry across both the commercial and public sectors. These fatalities accounted for 20.7% of all occupational fatalities in the US (5,333). The majority of fatal incidents in the construction sector—representing 37.9% of all fatalities—were caused by falls, slips, and trips (418 of 1,102). The number of fatal falls, slips, and trips increased by 22.9% from 2017 to 2018. Falls to a lower level account for the majority of fatal falls, slips, and trips.

 

Number of fatal work injuries in the construction industry by selected events or exposures, 2016-2020

 

Number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses involving days away from work by selected event or exposure, private construction industry, 2015-2019



Rate of nonfatal injuries and illinesses involving days away from work per 10,000 full-time workers by selected events or exposures and industries, 2020

Construction Fatalities in the United States.


On the job site, construction workers encounter a variety of dangers on a daily basis. Since 2016, more than 1,000 people have suffered a fatal injury at work each year, with falls to a lower level accounting for more than one-third of these fatalities, despite continued attempts to increase safety.

Number of fatal injuries in construction top 4 states

 

Worker

Falls Are the Leading Cause of Death in Construction 

Out of 1,008 construction fatalities in 2020, 351 were fatal falls to a lower level (BLS data). These deaths are avoidable. Since 2012, OSHA has collaborated on the Fall Prevention Campaign with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) - Construction Industry to raise awareness among workers and employers about common fall hazards in construction and how falls from ladders, scaffolds, and roofs can be avoided.


PLAN ahead to complete the job safely Employers must plan projects to ensure that employees work safely from heights. Begin by determining how the job will be completed, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment may be required for each task. 

PROVIDE the neccessary equipment Workers who are six feet and higher above lower levels are at risk of serious injury or death if they fall. Employers must provide fall protection and the appropriate equipment for the job, such as ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear, to protect these workers. 

TRAIN everyone to safely use the equipment Each employee should receive training on how to set up and operate the tools they use at work safely. Employers are required to provide workers with safety awareness training.

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Falls Are the Leading Cause of Death in Construction 

The industry is moving forward thanks to advancements in wearable technology and equipment as construction safety continues to change. Nevertheless, considering the number of avoidable accidents and fatalities that occur in the industry each year, a renewed dedication to safety and training is crucial in 2022. Due to the pandemic, attention to protective gear has increased dramatically during the last two years. Construction workers encounter a variety of risks, and the best response is ongoing awareness, education, regulation, and equipment. Putting safety first is essential in lowering the high injury rate in the construction industry. Also, businesses who value safety, also value their bottom line. Don't wait to evaluate your safety procedures; everyone on the building site benefits from promoting a culture of safety.

Download White Paper PDF

Download this PDF to learn about the role employers play in preventing construction site fatalities and injuries

Construction Fall Protection White Paper
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