The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that falls take the highest number of lives in the construction industry. Many of these falls happen from roofs, but you also have risks from ladders, lifts, vehicles and falls from one level of a structure to another.
To keep workers from getting seriously injured or even fatally injured on the job, OSHA has a three-part plan to protect them. It is known as “Plan, Provide and Train.”
Planning simply means thinking ahead, identifying the risks and deciding what can be done to offer protection. For instance, accidents happen when workers are given ladders that are too short for a job and they attempt to use them anyway. With a bit more planning, the right ladders could have been ordered and the accidents could have been avoided.
Providing often refers to fall protection equipment. Workers on roofs are often supposed to wear roped harnesses, for instance. They may still fall, but the harness will catch them. One of the most common violations is when workers are not provided with the safety gear that they need. It is important for employers to consider each project carefully and to make sure workers always have what they need.
Training is also crucial, though. Even workers with the right gear are not guaranteed to be safe if they do not know how to use that gear. Training should be extensive, it should never be rushed, and workers should feel very comfortable with the safety systems they have in place.
Falls continue to be a hazard in the construction industry. Workers who get injured must know what legal options they have.