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Workplace Safety Trends in Construction: Preventing Falls

Julie Copeland

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contentonly.aspxWorkplace safety is a serious issue. Each year in the U.S., more than 800 construction workers die and nearly 137,000 are seriously injured while on the job. At Arbill, we’re dedicated to decreasing these dire numbers, and one of the best ways to do that is through education.

This week on the Arbill Blog, we are focusing on crucial topics in workplace safety. OSHA recently released 12 videos that show how quickly workers can be injured or killed on the job. We are referencing these videos in our posts this week because they are excellent visual tools to help identify, reduce and eliminate construction-related hazards.

Please be advised; some of the videos deal with deaths at construction sites and might be disturbing for some viewers.

This post is about preventing falls, the number one cause of fatalities in construction.

  • Floor Openings -- This video demonstrates the importance of protecting workers from falling through floor openings while on roofs, scaffolds, ladders, bridges and other work surfaces. A lethal fall through a stairwell is prevented by an OSHA-required guardrail or proper and secure cover.
  • Fixed Scaffolds -- OSHA requires employers to provide workers with fall protection when they are working on scaffolds more than 10 feet above a lower level. In this video, a fall is prevented with a fully decked pump-jack scaffold with guardrails at the top, middle and ends.
  • Bridge Decking -- This video shows two workers installing deck pans onto a bridge. They were not wearing any personal fall protection and there was no safety net below the bridge. OSHA requires fall protection at heights of 15 feet and above! So if the proper fall protection had been in place, the worker in the video would not have fallen 75 feet to her death.
  • Reroofing -- This video emphasizes OSHA’s guidelines for fall protection to be used when working in residential construction at heights of 6 feet and above. Personal fall arrest systems, comprised of a full-body harness, a robe-grab lifeline and connectors, along with snap hooks that connect each worker’s robe-grab lifeline to secure roof anchors and D-rings that connect the safety harnesses to the robe-grab lifelines, prevent the worker’s deadly fall.
  • Leading Edge Work -- This video shows workers insulating the roof and applying the top layer of sheet metal roof decking on a tall, pre-engineered building. Because they are working at a height above 15 feet, OSHA requires fall protection. The device that saves one of the workers from falling through the space between the purlins is a temporary horizontal lifeline, which involves a horizontal cable attached to two or more anchor points on the roof.

These videos are a bit graphic, but they prove some very important points. OSHA requires a guardrail or secure cover over any openings and fall protection when working on a scaffold more than 10 feet above a lower level, at a height above 15 feet or at a height above 6 feet in a residential construction zone.

Check back soon for educational workplace safety guidelines and videos on sprains and strains!

For information and videos on how to prevent sprains and strains in construction, check back later in the week or subscribe to the Arbill Blog. In the meantime, be sure to check out our website for more information on workplace safety guidelines, solutions and programs or contact us to learn more about Arbill.

Topics: Arbill, workplace safety, Workplace Safety Trends in Construction

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