Construction falls and prevention strategies

Working in construction exposes workers to a variety of hazards. Work-related injuries and fatalities are common.

Falls tend to have the most consequences, but there are safety strategies that managers and employees can follow to prevent them from occurring.

Fall hazards

According to the Occupational Safety and Health  Administration, falls are one of the four major construction hazards. They are also the leading cause of death in the industry. The common hazards that result in falls include:

  • Exterior construction areas, as they contain excavations and sharp objects
  • Building structures, especially those six feet and higher
  • Stairs
  • Ladders
  • Scaffolds and powered work platforms

Fall prevention strategies

Some equipment and methods that can prevent falls on construction sites include guardrails, warning lines and floor covers. Workers should also wear a personal fall arrest system if working above six feet. This system includes a body harness, anchorage point and lanyard.

Everyone, including the construction company, managers and workers, can do their part to ensure safety on the job. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discusses strategies to prevent falls. One is to plan ahead before each job. This includes determining what tasks are necessary to perform the job and what safety equipment the area and workers need. When estimating the costs involved with each job, employers should include necessary safety equipment and ensure their availability on site.

Each job will need different safety equipment, so managers should make sure to provide workers with the right gear. Along with providing safety gear, managers should provide training on the proper set-up and use. Workers should also know how to recognize dangers and report them immediately to the site manager.