How to Stay Safe on a Construction Site: Fall Hazards Edition

15 Dec

fall hazard sign

Image via nomadic_lass

As a construction worker, you will be exposed to many dangerous hazards on the job site; I’m sure you already know that. But do you know which ones are the most common and what you can do to protect yourself? How about ones that OSHA views as most important? This Safety Hazard Series will be focusing on OSHA standards at a construction site and the “Fatal Four,” the leading causes of fatalities in the construction industry.

In 2013, 20.3% of worker fatalities came from this industry and the “Fatal Four” accounted for 58.7% of construction worker deaths. The “Fatal Four” includes:

  • Falls
  • Struck by object
  • Electrocutions
  • Caught-in/between

To start off this series, we will discuss the most common of them all: fall hazards.

What are the potential fall hazards?

In 2013, 294 out of 796 total deaths in construction came from falls. OSHA requires personal fall protection at six feet, but once you are working anywhere that is above four feet, you are at risk. If you are on a scaffold, the protection is required at ten feet. Here are the potential fall hazards you may be exposed to:

  • Falling from the roof to the ground
  • Falling from a ladder
  • Jumping from the second story to the ground
  • Falling through skylights, floor openings, and roof openings

What can you do to protect yourself?

When you are working on scaffolds, prevent a fall by using one of these fall protection systems whenever possible:

  • Guardrails
  • Personal Fall Arrest System
  • Safety Net Systems
  • Safety Monitoring System

Some safety equipment that can be used as, or in conjunction with, these systems are:

  • Belts
  • Harnesses
  • Lanyards
  • Lifelines
  • Shock absorbers
  • Safety nets
  • Rope Grabs

If you need more information or training on fall hazards, the OSHA Education Center provides online courses for the construction industry. You can select to take the 10-hour or 30-hour training and at the end of the course, you will receive a Hazard Recognition Training Wallet Card and certificate.

7 Responses to “How to Stay Safe on a Construction Site: Fall Hazards Edition”

  1. aluminum scaffold June 11, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    Thanks for the information, we will try to not make the mistakes, help a lot!

  2. Delores Lyon August 6, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    Thanks for sharing this advice on getting fall protection for your construction work. I had no idea that fall protection is required after just six feet. However, falls from that height could do some minor damage, so I can see the reasoning behind it. Plus, since there are so many different ways to protect yourself from fall damage, it seems like it would be easy to get some sort of protection. Even if only guardrails or harnesses are used, they could prevent a lot of accidents!

  3. Scott Johnson October 20, 2015 at 8:30 pm #

    My brother works in construction all the time and he is always telling me about some of the safety issues he runs into on a daily basis. Falling off a roof seems to be quite common from what he’s told me and his team has had to take a lot of measures to try and prevent it. I don’t think his team uses safety nets though, I’ll have to share that with him and see if he thinks it is a good idea.

  4. Quality Safety Nets February 24, 2016 at 6:13 am #

    Safety is always a major concern at the construction sites. The equipments you have mentioned above are good to use while working. Thanks for sharing all the safety tips.

  5. Sheet Pile in Manila July 28, 2017 at 5:56 am #

    Thanks for writing this safety guide regarding fall accidents in construction sites and enumerating the possible ways one can use to prevent such accident from happening.

    Already read the other 2, unfortunately the post for the struck by hazard isn’t showing so didn’t got the chance to read the safety guideline for that hope it gets posted again so that people can read it.

  6. Taylor Bishop August 11, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

    Thanks for helping me understand more about safety regarding construction sites. You mentioned that safety net systems are a good way to protect someone from a fall. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind learning more about how these are installed. Not only that, but it could be interesting to learn if there are different types of nets that are designed for specific projects.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. How to Stay Safe on a Construction Site: Caught-in/Between Hazards | American Safety Council Blog - December 15, 2014

    […] far you have learned about fall hazards, struck-by hazards, and electrocution hazards. The last in our series of the “Fatal Four” is […]

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