In 2013, more than one-third of all construction-related deaths involved falls from higher ground to lower levels. In Chicago, construction workers are subject to fall dangers every day when they climb up onto buildings’ roofs, scaffolding structures, and even just up onto ladders. Even a fall from a relatively low height can be deadly, and the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration has offered a straightforward way of reducing the number of preventable and deadly falls that occur at American construction sites.
First, OSHA suggests that employers make a plan for how they will handle fall safety with their workers. This can be challenging when workers are on different shifts or communicate in languages other than the language of the company. The agency has documents that it can distribute to construction companies to help them facilitate the discussion.
Second, construction companies should provide their workers with the right gear and equipment to keep them safe. According to OSHA, any worker who is more than six feet over a lower level should be harnessed or tied off for safety. Personal fall arrest systems can catch workers who slip off from heights and turn deadly ladder and scaffolding falls into prevented tragedies.
Finally, giving workers the right equipment is not necessarily enough. Workers have to be provided with training to properly use the equipment that will keep them safe. If a worker falls while improperly using a personal fall arrest system he may be no safer than if he had fallen without it.
Fall injuries can be very serious and can even result in death. As highlighted by OSHA, much of the responsibility for preventing fall accidents at construction sites is on construction companies. Without the proper planning, equipment, and training, many Chicago-area construction workers may be vulnerable to construction accident injuries while doing their jobs.