Construction fall fatalities still highest among all industries: What more can we do?
Falls are the leading cause of construction-worker fatalities, accounting for one-third of on-the-job deaths in the industry. In 2017, there were 366 fall fatalities out of 971 total fatalities in construction. According to the CPWR, from 2011-2015, 61% of fatal falls in construction occurred in small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. Almost two-thirds of fatal falls were from roofs, scaffolds, and ladders. Hispanics are 29% of the US construction workforce yet account for 39% of fatal falls to a lower level.
To address the toll of construction falls, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), CPWR – the Center for Construction Research and Training, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) along with the NORA Construction Sector Council launched a National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction in 2012. The 2019 Campaign kicked off with a webinar on March 20th. The webinar recording is available on YouTube, and the related slides can be downloaded here.
The National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction is a cornerstone of this campaign. The 2019 Stand-Down will occur May 6-10th (#StandDown4Safety). Over the last few years, thousands of companies have participated in the Stand-Down reaching millions of construction workers across all 50 states and internationally. The campaign encourages and educates construction contractors on how to prevent falls from heights on their worksites by:
- Planning ahead to do the job safely before starting each and every job.
- Providing the right equipment for working at heights.
- Training workers to use their equipment properly and to work safely on roofs, ladders, and scaffolds.
- A recent review found that Campaign partners identified the following benefits of their participation in the Stand-Down:
- Being part of a national campaign;
- Access to training resources and campaign materials;
- Increased opportunities to share resources;
- Motivation to focus on fall safety; and
- Improved relationships with other stakeholders
For the 2019 campaign, NIOSH created three new videos to highlight motivational stories of those involved in the Stand-Down. Watch these inspirational testimonials highlighting OSHA, the Kentucky FACE program, and the business perspective from BrandSafway. The new infographics (see one example at right) are valuable tools for succinctly communicating the messages of fall prevention. Another new resource from NIOSH is the aerial boom lift simulator which allows workers to navigate multiple hazards while gaining safety knowledge in a realistic workplace setting.
What Can You Do to Prevent Falls in Construction? Participate in the Campaign:
- Order your free 2019 Stand-Down hard hat stickers and fall-related Hazard Alert Cards here
- Download the 2019 Stand-Down poster (English and Spanish)
- Access Toolbox Talks, infographics, training materials, and other Stand-Down resources (in English and Spanish) on the stopconstructionfalls.com One Stop Stand-Down Shop page.
- If you plan to host a free event that is open to the public, visit OSHA’s Events page to submit the event details and to get it posted to the Events section on the National Stand-Down page.
- Download the NIOSH ladder safety app and view NIOSH info including fall-related videos, science blogs, FACE Reports, research and tools/interventions/educational materials at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/construction/stopfalls.html.
- We encourage you to get involved in this year’s National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction and the National Stand-Down. Your involvement can be as simple as accessing some of the resources highlighted here or becoming an official partner in our efforts to prevent falls in construction. Please help us make this year’s Stand-Down a success!
It is also important to note that four of the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards in 2018 directly relate to falls in construction: #1 Fall protection; #3 Scaffolds; #6 Ladders, and #8 Fall protection—training requirements. As we plan for this year’s Stand-Down in May, we encourage you to consider what we can all do to protect our workers against construction falls and reduce the number of fall-related OSHA violations.
Please click here to visit the NIOSH website and share your thoughts in the comment section below the blog post.
This work is a product of the NORA Construction Council.