NIOSH recently published a study analyzing work-related fatal falls from 2003-2014. In the eleven years that were studied, 8,880 workers died from fatal falls, with construction and extraction, installation, and maintenance and repair having the highest fatal fall rates. Of the fatalities, 7,521 were falls to a lower level, 1,128 were falls from the same level, and 231 were “other types of falls.” FAll rates were also higher among men, older workers and Hispanic workers. 45 percent of fatal falls to a lower level occured in organizations with 10 or fewer employees. Along with statistics about falls, the study cited guidelines from the National Fall Prevention Campaign to aid employers in ending fatal falls in the workplace.
Below are the guidelines on how to prevent falls in your workplace.
- Plan Ahead: Employers must plan ahead when doing projects where employees must work from a height. Decide how the job will be done, what tasks are involved, and what safety equipment will be required to ensure workers remain safe. Planning ahead includes factoring in the cost of equipment when estimating the job cost.
- Provide the Right Safety Equipment: Falls to a lower level pose the greatest risk for serious injury or death to a worker. Providing the right equipment for fall protection can protect workers from this hazard. Proper equipment includes the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds and safety gear, such as Personal Fall Arrest Systems.
- Train Everyone to Use the Equipment: Every worker should receive training on the proper set-up and use of all the equipment they use on the job. Workers should also be trained to recognize hazards.
OSHA provides educational materials and resources to aid in training on fall prevention.