rooferWith falls the top cause of death in the construction industry, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and its partners have developed a campaign to try and prevent them. "Safety Pays. Falls Cost" grew out of multi-stakeholder discussions held by the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Construction Sector Council and is a government-labor-management partnership that includes NIOSH, OSHA, state government, private industry, trade associations, academia, and professional and labor organizations.

Writing on the NIOSH Science blog, Christine Branche, PhD; Pietra Check, MPH; Janie Gittleman, PhD, MRP; Scott Schneider, MS, CIH and Pete Stafford  note that each year, some 200 construction workers are killed and 10,000 seriously injured in falls.

"The campaign will focus on small residential construction contractors and workers and will work to prevent the three major types of fatal falls: falls from roofs, ladders, and scaffolds," they write. "We know that promoting the use of the right equipment and fall prevention practices will reduce the number of fall-related fatalities and injuries in the construction industry. As such, the campaign will focus on the need to plan ahead for safety before every job; provide the right equipment for the job; train workers to use the right equipment; and to otherwise work safely at heights."

Those in the construction industry are encouraged to sign on as official supporters of the campaign, by emailing NIOSH at or commenting on the blog.   

Participants can help by:

•Producing and distributing campaign materials
•Get the word out on Facebook pages, company websites and newsletters, etc.
•Promote, hold, or sponsor trainings, demonstrations, or events to raise awareness.
•Reaching out to new partners in government, labor, and industry.
•Keeping NIOSH informed about what they are doing
The following sites offer more information on the campaign and prevening falls in construction.

•The campaign website
•The Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program  (for construction fall-related reports)
•The OSHA stopfalls site (to order hardcopies of the Campaign print materials)

Dr.  Branche is the Principal Associate Director of NIOSH and Director of the NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health.Ms. Check is a Health Communications Specialist in the Office of the Director, NIOSH. Dr. Gittleman is Chief, Occupational Safety, Health & Environmental Compliance for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Mr. Schneider is the Director of the Occupational Safety and Health Division of the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America. Mr. Stafford is the Executive Director of CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training.