CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYERS’ ROLES IN PREVENTING FALLS
Preventing Construction Accidents is Vital
In an urban sprawl like New York City, something is always under construction. Those who work on these job sites face a grim reality every day — the chance that a careless workplace incident will cause grave injury or death.
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According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls are the number one cause of construction fatalities. Over 30% of the total deaths in 2018 were due to falls. However, construction employers can take measures that could nearly eliminate fatal falls.
Fall Prevention Campaign
In 2012, OSHA and other government agencies developed a simple mantra to help construction employers and workers gain awareness of the hazards that lead to falls and how to prevent them: PLAN, PROVIDE, TRAIN.
This Fall Prevention Campaign emphasizes the need to create a safety plan before the work starts, including analyzing potential dangers and guarding against them. This plan also enables employers to provide enough of the correct safety equipment so that all workers can do their jobs without risking injuries. Additionally, employers should train each worker on how to set up, use and maintain the equipment which will keep him or her safe.
Employers’ responsibilities to provide a safe construction zone
OSHA requires construction employers to find and reduce the risk of any known hazard at the job site. This includes safety training that workers understand, clean and uncluttered work surfaces and personal protective equipment that workers need at no charge.
Specifically, to help prevent falls, construction employers must provide personal fall arrest systems to staff working at the height of six feet or more or above dangerous machinery or substances. They must cover or protect any opening in a work surface through which an employee could fall and install guard rails or other provide other protection on open edges.
All working persons have the right to safe job conditions. It may be a little more involved in the construction industry, but employers and workers together can prevent many injuries and fatalities.