Falls in Construction

Powerful Essays
Falls in Construction:
A Persistent Problem

Amber Davis

OSHT 1405
Ratliff
April 2, 2013

Davis 1
Falls in Construction: A Persistent Problem It is a known fact that falling is the leading cause of death in the construction industry. According to OSHA’s statistics for the year 2011, 251 out of 721 total deaths in construction were due to falls. Over the last decade, OSHA has updated and revised many standards for the construction industry that have been effective in reducing the total number of fatalities. Although the total number of deaths has decreased, the percentage of those deaths from falls has remained fairly constant. Employer noncompliance with OSHA standards, inadequate financial support for personal protection equipment, and the need for better planning and training are all contributing factors to the persistent problem of fall related deaths in construction.

Figure 1 Total deaths in construction compared to the number of deaths from falls during 2003-2011. Data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

For fiscal year 2011, fall protection standard 1926.501 and scaffolding standard 1926.451, were the top two most cited standards by OSHA. These same two standards also received the
Davis 2 highest amount of penalties during the fiscal year of 2012. These statistics reveal that companies are simply not complying with OSHA regulations, and they also reveal an inadequate level of commitment from the employer to provide proper fall protection for their workers. This fact is made evident in an article on fall hazards, published in Industrial Safety & Hygiene News. In the article, a Connecticut masonry contractor was “cited by OSHA for 15 alleged willful, repeat and serious violations of safety standards” (ISHN 12). The contractor was also fined $220,000 “for numerous scaffolding and fall hazards” (ISHN 12). This article concludes that some companies are very aware of which standards they are required to follow, but



Cited: "Cutting Corners, Costing Lives." Fast Fall Facts Blog. Guardian Fall Protection, 14 Apr 2011. Web. Web. 1 Apr. 2013. <www.guardianfall.com>. Ellis, J. Introduction to Fall Protection. 3rd ed. Des Plaines: American Society of Safety Engineers, 2001. Print. "Masonry Contractor Fined Heavily for Fall Hazards." Industrial Safety & Hygiene News 41.2 (2007): 12. Business Source Complete. Web. 31 Mar. 2013. Martin, Melissa. "Fall Protection." Occupational Hazards 63.3 (2001): 23. Business Source Complete. Web. 31 Mar. 2013. Nelson, Nancy A. "Falls in Construction: Injury Rates for OSHA-Inspected Employers Before and After Citation for Violating the Washington State Fall Protection Standard." American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 31. (1997): 296-302. Web. 31 Mar. 2013. "OSHA Commonly Used Statistics." OSHA Commonly Used Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. "OSHA 's Fall Prevention Campaign." OSHA 's Fall Prevention Campaign. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. Torres, Katherine. "New Frontiers In FALL PROTECTION Equipment. (Cover Story)." Occupational Hazards 69.6 (2007): 31-35. Business Source Complete. Web. 2 Apr. 2013.

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