CONSTRUCTION SITE FALL HAZARDS TO REVIEW WITH THE TEAM
Construction is among the most dangerous industries and in recent years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that there are more than 800 fatal on-the-job injuries to construction workers annually – more than any other single industry.
Fall hazards can be found in a variety of work activities, including:
- Working from ladders
- Work on rooftops, near skylights, or floor holes
- Working near excavations or pier holes
- Working on scaffolding, scissor lifts or boom lifts
- Using make-shift platforms or scaffold-like surfaces including buckets
- Inside of attics or overhead crawlspaces
- During road construction on bridges or overpasses
OSHA Standard 1926.501(b)(1) states that Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.
Fall hazards and fall prevention must be a part of your annual workplace safety training program and while you may have a longer OSHA annual compliance training component in your training plan, it is still a good idea to have a safety meeting on fall protection and fall hazards identification at least quarterly. During these fall hazards safety meetings, make sure to incorporate these important points.
- Workers must recognize possible fall hazards, especially when working at heights above 6-feet from a lower level. In general construction activities fall protection is required when working at heights above 6-feet from a lower level.
- If unprotected sides and edges exist, a guardrail may be an option to prevent fall hazards.
- Workers should never be exposed to a fall hazard without proper fall protection in place.
- Fall hazards at ground level must be protected.
- Barricades, temporary barriers, and warning lines may help alert workers to possible hazards.
- Danger, warning, and caution signs must be used properly to warn workers of possible hazards.
- When working on scaffolds, employees must have fall protection such as guardrails installed when they are more than 10-feet above a lower level.