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11th annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction Takes Place in May

Side view of construction welder wearing safety helmet and safety harness loop to preventing falling.

Working in construction is inherently risky due to the physically demanding nature and environment of the job. Construction sites often feature high elevations and temporary structures. As a result, falls in construction—as well as other construction accidents—are common.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are one of the leading causes of worker fatalities. This represents over a third (36.4%) of all construction-related deaths. Specifically, 401 out of the 991 fatalities recorded in the industry in 2019 were due to falls to a lower level.

Awareness campaign highlights the risks construction workers face

To address this concern, the 11th edition of the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction takes place in May. Led by OSHA, this campaign aims to highlight the risks associated with falls from elevated surfaces. For 13 years running, fall protection measures have consistently ranked as the agency's most frequently cited standards.

This week-long event urges construction companies to pause operations briefly and partake in various safety activities. These include toolbox discussions, safety gear assessments, mock rescue drills, and talks addressing site-specific risks.

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the National Safety Council are all actively involved in this initiative.

Preventing falls in construction

Some of the leading causes of falls and other accidents in construction include:

  • Inadequate fall protection: This includes the absence of guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems where required.
  • Unsafe working surfaces: This includes unfinished roofs, scaffolds without planking, and ladders that are not secured.
  • Lack of training: Workers who have not been properly trained in fall protection and the specific hazards of their job site are more likely to fall.
  • Lack of safety protocols: Failure to establish or follow safety protocols, such as conducting regular safety inspections and enforcing the use of protective equipment, can lead to falls.
  • Human error: Distractions, fatigue, or improper behavior on the job can also lead to errors that cause falls.
  • Improper use of equipment: Using equipment improperly or using the wrong type of equipment for a specific task can result in falls. For example, using a chair instead of a ladder to reach something high up.

According to Thom Kramer, the Vice President of Finance on ASSP’s Board of Directors, these accidents are preventable across all job types.

“Companies can create safe environments by using prevention through design principles, providing the right equipment and training everyone involved. It’s also a great idea to implement a fall protection program that follows our recently updated Z359.2 consensus standard,” Kramer said in a statement.

OSHA offers several resources to facilitate safety stand-downs. These include infographics, articles, publications, videos, and educational materials available in English and Spanish. For further details on the event, visit the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction page on the OSHA website.

We fight for injured construction workers in NYC

In the aftermath of a construction accident, it's important to take immediate steps to build your case. This includes:

  • Seeking medical attention to address and document any injuries.
  • Reporting the accident to a supervisor to ensure it is officially recorded.
  • Capturing photographs of the accident scene.
  • Meticulously noting down the details of the incident.
  • Following medical advice and keeping detailed records of all related interactions and treatments.

If you sustained injuries in a construction accident in New York City, choose an experienced attorney to handle your case. Keogh Crispi, P.C. has a strong track record representing injured workers and their families.

We offer free initial consultations to discuss your situation and answer any questions you have. To find out how we can help you, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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