There are a lot of OSHA requirements. A. Lot. That’s because, with a name like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, they’ve got a lot of ground to cover. It’s unlikely that every employer, trainer, or employee has every OSHA standard memorized, so it’s important to get little reminders on safety information that applies to a specific industry or job.
As someone in the construction industry, these standards are especially important. You work in some of the most consistently dangerous environments in the country. In fact, construction workers comprise about 4% of the American workforce but around 21% of workplace fatalities (source). The top cause of these construction industry fatalities? Falls.
Let’s take a look at a few facts OSHA has provided about fall protection training in the construction industry:
Falls have historically been the number one cause of fatalities in the construction industry.
It’s worth repeating. Construction workers see the greatest number of fatalities, and falls are the leading cause of these deaths. That means fall protection training is arguably the most important training you can give your construction employees, and it should be some high quality training at that.
Falls in construction usually involve multiple factors.
It’s easy enough to put up warning signs and guard rails, equip workers with harnesses, and tell everyone to be careful; but the real danger is that no one single factor is to blame in most cases. When there are multiple factors involved and a fatal fall still occurs, it only serves to reinforce just how dangerous these hazards can be.
Subpart M covers all requirements for fall protection in construction environments.
OSHA’s materials on these requirements are extensive, and you can find more information here. These guidelines lay out exactly which workplaces require which safety precautions in any situation you need. Following these guidelines and adequately training workers is the absolute best way to keep them as safe as possible.
There are specific requirements for almost every type of work activity.
Some general requirements are pretty universal, like providing fall protection for work at any heights above 6 feet. Some requirements, however, are very specific. (For example, in roofing, materials must not be placed within 6 feet of the roof edge with a guardrail.) This shows the importance of becoming familiar with all regulations involving the situations specific to the designated workplace.
There is so much information available concerning fall protection training, but it’s useless if employees aren’t being trained on it well. Make sure your employees are informed and practiced so that your workplace can avoid as many injuries and fatalities as possible.