Ever since we began working above ground level, falls have been among the most common causes of serious injuries and deaths. We all need fall protection because even those of us with years of experience working at heights can suddenly lose our balance or grip and fall. We may think that our reflexes are fast enough to protect us, but even if we have great balancing and motor skills, and when we’re distracted, we're at risk of falling
We've been falling since Day One. Until we get better at landing, we'll need protection from falling.
And, as the photo to the right illustrates, some people just don't understand fall hazards. Consequently they do things at work and home that defy good sense. The information in this course will help alert and prevent workers from falls.
See The Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction for a map of the Construction fatalities.
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1. Why does every employee working at heights need fall protection?a. To reduce the probability of a fall
Construction is a potentially high hazard industry for those who work in it, with falls at the top of the hazards list. Falls are the most frequent cause of fatalities at construction sites and annually account for one of every three construction-related deaths. Here are some interesting statistics:
Click on the button to see a prioritized list showing the types of falls that cause the most non-fatal injuries.
As you can see, most fall injuries are caused by falls from ladders.
2. Which type of fall results in the most construction industry fatalities?a. Falls off ladders
For many in the construction industry, when speaking of fall-protection, equipment is the first thing that comes to mind: personal fall-arrest systems, safety nets, or guardrails, for example. But fall protection means more than equipment. Fall protection is what you do to eliminate fall hazards, prevent falls, and ensure that workers who may fall aren't injured.
Although fall hazards are common at construction worksites, fall-related injuries and fatalities are preventable. Fall hazards can be addressed in two main ways:
We'll discuss these basic strategies in more detail in Module 3. Click on the button to see a list of strategies to help prevent falls on the worksite.
To prevent falls, be sure to do the following:
3. Which of the following methods is an example of fall prevention?a. Safety nets
It’s important to use a systematic "Hierarchy of Controls" for fall protection. In descending order of preference, the hierarchy of controls for fall protection is as follows:
4. When possible, what is the most effective hazard control during construction?a. Elimination
Everyone at the construction worksite has a role to play in preventing falls.
5. Who is responsible for recognizing and eliminating fall hazards, ensuring training is conducted, and preventing injuries?a. Manufacturers
An estimator arrived at a remodel job to look at a cedar-shake roof and estimate the cost of an addition that a construction crew was building. He spoke to the supervisor at the site and climbed to the roof through an open skylight using a metal extension ladder. However, he was unaware that the contractor had used a sheet of thin insulating material to cover three 2-by-6-foot skylight openings in the roof (it had rained the day before). He stepped onto the insulating material, fell through one of the skylights, and landed on his back, 15 feet below.
The supervisor and two subcontractors heard the estimator fall and rushed to the accident. One of the subcontractors used his cell phone to call emergency medical services. EMTs arrived about five minutes later, stabilized the victim, and took him to a hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for spinal injuries.
Findings: The employer failed to properly cover the skylight openings on the roof or warn workers about the hazard. To prevent falls through skylights, the employer should have covered skylights with screens, guarded skylights with railings or guardrails, or required the estimator to use proper fall arrest systems.
6. Which of the following would fail to provide adequate protection against falls through skylights?a. Screens
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A Life-Changing Moment (Short Version) - Washington State Dept. of Labor and Industries 2007 - Video V1230 - A true story of one man's tragic accident in Washington state. The injured worker had received no safety training nor had been given fall protection gear when he fell and became paralyzed from the waist down. He was lucky, he lived to tell this story and hopes that others will be spared his pain. Includes requirements and recommendations for scaffolding.