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.

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 2018, the annual number of fall fatalities in construction increased by 30%, 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 have increased by 63% since 2011 and Hispanic worker deaths have increased by 90% since 2011.

Actual Incident:

West Chester, PA: An employee performing carpentry activities on a roof was fatally injured after falling to the ground below. The employee was installing wooden sheathing on a sloped roof (4:12). The perimeter of the roof was not protected nor was the employee utilizing any personal fall arrest equipment. The employee fell approximately 30 feet to his death. The employee was working at the site for less than two weeks.

  • 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.