Falls In Construction

More than 800 construction workers die every year while on the job. Falls are the number one cause of fatalities in construction. Falls cause one of every three construction worker deaths. These falls happen in a split second while workers are on roofs, scaffolds, ladders, bridges, and other work surfaces. But these deaths can be prevented.

The video you are about to see shows how quickly falls at construction sites can lead to workers’deaths. The video will also show what employers must do so that the work can be done more safely. Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace and required protective equipment. You’ll see that using the right type of fall protection saves lives.

Please be advised. The scenes you are about to see deal with deaths at construction sites and might be disturbing for some people. All scenes are based on true stories.

Two workers were reroofing a two-story home with a pitched roof. They were not wearing any personal fall protection. The workers used nail guns to install shingles over an old layer of shingles.

One of the workers was close to the edge of the roof. As she reached to pick up another shingle, she lost her balance. She slipped off the edge of the roof. She fell more than 20 feet and landed on the driveway below. She died instantly from her injuries.

Let’s look at the events leading up to this tragic incident, and see how it could have been prevented. Originally, the workers had no fall protection, which OSHA requires when working in residential construction at heights of 6 feet and above.

Let’s look again at the workers installing shingles. Now, they are both wearing personal fall arrest systems. Each system has a full-body harness, a rope-grab lifeline, and connectors. Snaphooks connect each worker’s rope-grab lifeline to secure roof anchors, which are located higher up on the roof. D-rings connect the workers’ safety harnesses to their rope-grab lifelines.

As before, the worker reaches over to pick up a shingle, loses her balance, slips, and falls. But now, because she is wearing a fall arrest system, she only slips 2 feet and doesn’t fall off the roof.

This example shows the importance of following OSHA’s fall protection standards. These types of construction deaths are preventable. The fall protection measures shown here save workers’ lives.

Use fall protection on the job: it could be the difference between life and death.

Source: United States Department of Labor, “Falls in Construction,” http://www.osha.gov website. Accessed September 1, 2020. https://www.osha.gov/dts/vtools/construction/reroofing_fnl_eng_web_transcript.html

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