Every year since 2012, OSHA announces its National Safety Stand-down week. This event, celebrated nationally, raises awareness of falls in the construction industry.

Of the 971 construction fatalities in 2017, 366 were preventable falls. OSHA efforts include educating employers, supervisors and workers on safety policies and protective gear.

Falls can occur in many different scenarios

Falls can occur in any workplace, but they tend to occur more often on construction sites, production areas, hospitals and nursing homes, chicken processing plants and transformer plants. As the consciousness of hazardous conditions is raised, instruction on how to avoid accidents is vital to the success of lowering fatalities.

Below are common scenarios where workers are at a much greater risk for suffering a serious fall injury:

  • Walking or working areas that are slippery, unstable or untidy
  • Wall gaps or floor holes
  • Edges without protection or fencing
  • Ladders placed in precarious positions or on unbalanced ground
  • Falls from lift or aerial use equipment
  • Roofing holes or skylights
  • Improperly used safety protection

8 ideas to prevent fall injuries from occuring

  1. Always be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Watch for spills that might cause a slippery floor.
  3. Wear safety equipment such as a hard hat, a harness for height jobs, tie-downs for any height work above six feet, slip-resistant, steel-toed boots, high-visibility vest and gloves.
  4. Make sure anything you climb on, such as a ladder, scaffolding, aerial lifts or suspension platforms, are well-built and immovable.
  5. Use the correct tools for the job.
  6. Make sure you know and follow the proper usage of tools and safety equipment.
  7. Do not try to carry anything by yourself that is too heavy or bulky. Heavy items can cause you to lose your balance. Bulky items can obscure your view and cause a fall.
  8. Take frequent breaks to stay hydrated and focused on your work.

Continuing education can help keep workplaces safer

There are many options for learning about fall hazard safety precautions. OSHA and the CDC offer many different types of courses to inform employers, supervisors and workers.

Many of the liability insurance companies will provide free and low-cost classes to their clients. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) gives free access to an Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator. Although, the Simulator is not meant to replace safety training, it can improve awareness for seasoned workers and help illustrate hazards for new operators.

Whatever your industry, safety should always be your first goal. A safe worksite is more productive and costs less to operate in the long run.