On construction sites in Scranton and throughout the United States, there is a significant risk of fall injuries occurring. Falls are one of the "Fatal Four," or top four causes of death on construction sites. In fact, falls are the leading cause of death among construction workers, with 349 out of 874 fatalities in 2014 on construction sites occurring due to falls, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The prevention of falls is essential to reducing Pennsylvania workers' compensation claims and to keeping workers safe and healthy. Fall prevention should be a top goal of every employer and construction companies should vow to do better with falls in 2016.
Tips for Fall Prevention on Scranton Construction Sites
Safety BLR has a list of seven steps which can be taken in order to significantly reduce fall injury risks on construction sites. These steps include:
- Analyzing hazards in the workplace. A careful analysis of all potential conditions which could cause a fall is essential before falls happen. Both workers and supervisory staff should be a part of the hazard analysis, and the analysis should be interactive and consider the different tasks workers perform to identify fall risks at each phase of the construction process.
- Removing hazards when possible. Engineering can be used to help reduce the risks which exist in construction sites. Both work sites and work processes or methods can be altered to reduce fall risks. For example, installing a floor level remote readout to reduce the need for workers to climb up to high elevations to check on machines and systems could be an important fall-reduction step.
- Preplanning to prevent falls at each separate phase of construction. During the design process, contractors, construction professionals, architects, designers, and safety professionals should all work together with the goal of identifying hazards which could arise and cause falls at any phase of the project. Before bids are submitted, job-specific fall protection plans should also be discussed with all bidding contractors.
- Developing a plan for emergency situations. If falls do happen, a site-specific emergency response plan should be in place. The plan should provide details on how notification is made, on communicating and reporting injuries, on getting prompt medical attention for victims, and on self-rescue devices such as man baskets.
- Providing ample training. Qualified professionals should develop training and should provide training to all new staff members and to all visitors to the construction job site.
- Focusing on accountability. A fall protection plan is going to be more effective if someone is accountable for taking specific steps to reduce falls. It should be clear who is responsible for implementation of all fall prevention techniques at every step of the way.
- Job site inspections. Inspections should be routinely conducted in order to make certain fall protection protocols are being followed.
By following these steps on construction sites, hopefully fewer falls will occur this year and construction workers can be safer on-the-job.