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Steven M. Lee, PC

Working From Heights Puts Construction Workers at an Increased Risk for Falling

There is no denying that falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry; however, workers across all industries and in all kinds of jobs in Texas and across the country have been impacted by fall-related injuries. Although roofers and construction workers are at an increased risk for falling since they use ladders and scaffolding, they aren’t the only ones who work from heights. In fact, maintenance workers, retail workers, and even office workers may use ladders from time to time on the job.

Whether it is getting a box off of a top shelf in the storage room, changing a light bulb, or working on a roof, anyone can fall and suffer an on-the-job injury; however, falling from heights at work is a very real risk for construction workers. In fact, about 300 construction workers fell to their deaths in 2012, and approximately 8,800 construction workers were seriously injured in falls, according to the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Construction Season Risks

As the summer construction season is wrapping up, construction workers, roofers and painters may be in a hurry to finish building homes since the economy is recovering and housing is starting to rise. But just because these men and the companies they work for want to make a living before the end of construction season, there is no reason to rush and sacrifice safety.

When corners are cut, safety gear isn’t used, and employers aren’t focused on fall prevention, serious injuries, disabilities, and death can occur due to elevated falls. In fact, fatal falls from ladders, roofs, and scaffolds made up a third of the fall fatalities in the construction industry in 2012, according to OSHA.

Sadly, most construction fall-related injuries and fatalities could have been prevented if:

  • Contractors raised awareness about fall hazards.
  • Contractors had worksite safety plans in place.
  • Workers were trained properly.
  • Workers were provided with the proper fall protection—harness, guardrails, safety nets, etc.

Because most fatal falls occur due to a lack of fall protection, it is important that employers and workers take precautionary steps to reduce construction site falls from elevations. Falls are a widespread problem that not only affects the construction industry, but impacts workers and their families in all kinds of jobs. For this reason, businesses and workers should work together to prevent falls and save lives.

If you work in the construction industry, please share this information with your co-workers on Facebook so others will realize how widespread the problem is and the importance of fall protection gear.


Steven M. Lee
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