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In its most recent Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 887 fatal falls in 2017; the highest total in the 26-year history of the census. Those falls accounted for 17.2 percent of the 5,147 overall workplace deaths. Also resulting in 10,350 serious fall-related injuries a year. Additionally, the majority of fatal falls from scaffolds (86%), roofs (81%) and ladders (57%) occur in construction. We combat these statistics by stressing the importance of training and regular ladder and scaffold maintenance along with following all recommendations for avoiding falls:

For workers on roofs:

  • Implement a fall protection program, wear proper fall protection and undergo corresponding training
  • Use correct anchorage for fall arrest systems
  • Use a buddy system
  • Monitor weather conditions when working at height

For workers on ladders:

  • Choose the right ladder for the job
  • Don’t overload the ladder
  • Use the ladder on flat, level ground
  • Face the ladder while climbing and maintain three points of contact at all times

For workers on scaffolds:

  • Train and assign a person to supervise scaffold setup
  • Ensure scaffolds comply with manufacturer guidelines and OSHA standards
  • Place scaffolds on stable ground or surfaces
  • Inspect scaffolds and scaffold parts before each use

Image sourcing: Fatal occupational injuries by workers in the construction industry due to falls to a lower level, 2011-2015. Bureau of Labor Statistics Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities (IIF).

Remember, safety is built one step a time!

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