Fatalities caused by falls from any elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 370 of the 991 construction fatalities recorded in 2016 (BLS Data). Those deaths were preventable. The National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries. Bancroft Construction is holding stand-downs on our job sites throughout the week to take a break to focus on fall hazards and reinforce the importance of fall protection. This time is also an opportunity for employees to talk to management about falls and other job hazards they are aware of.
When a project requires working from heights, plan to ensure that the job is done safely. Begin by deciding how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment may be needed to complete each task.
When estimating the cost of a job, include safety equipment for all the necessary equipment and tools available at the construction site.
For example, in a roofing job, think about all of the different fall hazards, such as holes or skylights and leading edges, then plan and select fall protection suitable to that work, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS). Workers who are six feet or more above a lower level are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To protect these workers, provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
With all PPE, it’s vital that the activities of each worker be considered. If the PPE constricts or negatively impacts job performance, it is less likely to be work properly or worn at all. This is especially important to consider when adding PPE to the tools that perform the work.
It is the responsibility of every safety manager, construction superintendent, overseer, and worker to make sure that they understand the dangers they face when working from a height. Fall prevention means preventing things from falling, whether people, tools or equipment. See below for a graphic that demonstrates the severity of a fall from any height.
Visit www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/ for more information on National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction and for FAQs on how to conduct a safety stand-down.
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