Falls From Heights — Leading Factor In Construction Deaths
Falls from heights remain the biggest cause of occupational fatalities in the construction industry, according to ESH Today, an occupational safety and health journal.
The journal found that the risk of falling from heights is not being managed and prioritized according to its devastating effects on workers’ well-being and safety.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found that:
- 42 percent of deaths between 1982-2015 in construction involved falls
- 54 percent of workers killed had no access to a personal fall arrest system
- 20 percent of fatalities occurred in the victims’ first two months on the job.
Data from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) shows falls from heights were the leading cause of workplace fatalities in 2017-2018.
Injuries from falls are more likely than other injuries to be life-threatening because they impact the whole body and vital organs. The chances of surviving a fall from over 30 feet are low, but even a fall from six feet can kill or maim.
Spinal, head or neck injuries are a common result of falls, regardless of the height, and can leave the worker severely disabled or lead to death.
Taking safety measures
Two steps that are key to workplace safety are:
- Safety equipment: First, workers must have support in toiling with tools and machinery, such as shields and other kinds of protection from dangerous situations. Advances in safety equipment mean that such devices can be tailored to make every work site potentially hazard-free. A combination of fall arrest systems, edge protection, scaffolds and safety equipment (like lighting, ladders, protective gear, etc.) should be able to prevent injuries—if used correctly.
- Training: workers must get training and guidance from employers. A good safety plan not only saves workers’ lives, it also benefits a company’s bottom line. According to the National Safety Council, every $1 invested in injury prevention can return between $2 to $6 as productivity increases, contentment with work and the workplace among employees rises, and higher retention creates a more sustainable and successful working environment. OSHA is running fall prevention campaigns as part of an initiative to decrease the number of victims from falls from height.
Another factor that influences the safety of construction jobs is the weather.
Regionally, construction workers face heat, cold, rain or windy weather. The trades most exposed to weather conditions are carpenters and roofers … It is not possible to change the weather, so the workers’ behaviors need modifications based on the weather, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Contact Tabor Law Firm PA, Workers Compensation Lawyers Of Mississippi today about your workplace injury.