This year, GBCA is participating in OSHA’s Focus Four Campaign, providing resources to avoid incidents involving OSHA’s Focus Four hazards. This week’s toolbox talk is about general protection and awarness of falls in construction. Scroll down to read it. Click below to download it as a printable Toolbox Talk.

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General Protection and Awareness of Falls in Construction

Falls are the leading cause of injuries at work sites. Falls can occur from ladders, scaffolding, vehicles, heavy equipment, aerial lifts, openings, platforms, and roofs. Between 2011 and 2015, the annual number of fall fatalities in construction increased by 36%, exceeding the growth in employment and total fatalities in this industry. More than half (55%) of fall fatalities in construction occurred at a height of 20 feet or less. Falls
from roofs comprised one-third of fall deaths, followed by falls from ladders (24%).

Actual Incident:

Teterboro, NJ, October 2016: An employee was laying down new metal decking sheets on the roof on a commercial construction project. The employee was fastening the sheets using a screw gun. The employee was using an articulating boom aerial lift as a means of access to the roof. Employee slipped and fell 45 feet to the ground while attempting to get into the lift. The employee was killed.

  • What could have been done to prevent the fatality?
  • What safety precautions should the individual have taken?
  • What precautions should the company have taken?

What you need to know:

Guardrails, Personal Fall Arrest Systems or Safety Net Systems are required on work surfaces when employees are exposed to falls of over 6 feet.

Fall Protection must be provided for all workers when exposed to falls of over 6 feet, with very limited exceptions.

  • Guardrails must be 42” in height, a mid-rail is required as well as toe-boards . When a guardrail system is utilized for Fall Protection it must, at a minimum, be comprised of a top rail, mid-rail, and toe-board.
  • Personal Fall Protection Systems must, at a minimum, consist of a Body Harness, Lanyard, and an Anchor Point that is capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds per employee.
  • All employees must be provided with Fall Protection Training which includes the recognition of potential fall hazards at the workplace.

As per OSHA regulations, all workers must be properly trained on any Fall Protection System that they are expected to utilize. All Fall Protection Systems must at least be compliant with OSHA’s CFR 1926.502.

Images from Stop Construction Falls.