Back in the day, many workers in the construction field faced fatal falls due to the lack of fall protection and proper safety methods. Today, we have high-tech fall protection that’s engineered to withstand force and significantly slow down the fall process. We have a good reason to think these approaches have come a long way from working on suspended girders with no protective gear. And yet, hundreds of workers are still falling to their deaths! Why? This blog will go over why there are so many fatal workplace falls and what we can do to prevent it.
Fatal Falls Are Still a Major Issue
Falls are considered one of OSHA’s “fatal four,” a small list of construction hazards that are responsible for the most workers’ deaths. Falls make up for 42% of construction workers’ deaths, which is a huge number considering the equipment and technology we have today. So why are deaths related to falls still happening? The answer is simple; workers are not wearing the equipment. There are reasons as to why this is:
- Workers don’t have the equipment available to them
- Workers aren’t educated on the importance of wearing the equipment
20% of fatal falls happen with new workers, and that in over half of overall cases, the workers have no access to a fall protection system. This is a common problem with small contractors as they have fewer resources to allocate to things like training, supervision, safety equipment, and safety personnel. If a small contractor’s safety program is weak or nonexistent, some effort should be made to get under a prime contractor’s system. Safety norms should be applied and reinforced in all construction contractors, no matter how big or small.
How Can We Reduce the Number of Fatal Falls?
Of course, the primary means of preventing fatal falls is by wearing the equipment. The most common fall prevention equipment used in the construction industry include:
Having the equipment is not all there is to it; training should be provided to all workers on how to properly wear the fall equipment. Improper use can lead to serious injuries and even death. Provide proper methods and rules to ensure that the equipment is being handled the right way.
Create a Strong Safety Culture
Even with all of the carefully structured rules and advanced fall protection technology, they cannot save a life if they’re being ignored. Stubbornness and the fact that workers defiantly ignore safety rules are big contributors as to why so many fatal falls still take place. This is why a strong safety culture has to be created. Emboldening safety culture in organizations needs to happen from the top down. The example has to be set by the higher-ups, and awareness should be made. A policing approach shouldn’t be used. Rules dictated by fiat don’t reach the people they’re designed to help and, therefore, can never be as powerful as ownership of the core beliefs and internalized values of a proper safety culture.
Even in this day and age, fall still accounts for a big chunk of work-related deaths. The best way to combat this problem is by educating workers on the importance of following safety protocol and, most importantly, providing them with the proper safety equipment. Without the equipment, the chances of a fatal fall taking place increases conspicuously! We hope this blog helped you see why there are so many fatal workplace falls and what we can do to prevent it. Safety is a big concern in the construction industry, which is why all precautions must be taken. To get fall protection personal protective equipment for your workers, give Extreme Safety a call at (310) 856-0166 or click here.