Whatever the industry you might work in, workplace injuries and fatalities may occur, but often they can be prevented. If we can raise awareness about OSHA standards and worker safety then fall safety can easily become a top priority. The National Safety Councils’ mission statement says, “The National Safety Council eliminates preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.” Through that mission statement alone, it is evident that there is a lack of education and awareness among certain industries.
Focusing more specifically on the roofing & construction industries, the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death is falls. To put it into perspective, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in 2017, 5,147 workers died on the job. Out of 4,674 worker fatalities in private industry in 2017, one of five worker deaths were in construction. Within the construction industry, the leading causes of private sector worker deaths (excluding highway collisions) were falls, followed by struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. These four causes, known as the Fatal Four, would save 582 workers’ lives every year in America if eliminated. Furthermore, construction workers are most at risk for fatal falls from height, which is more than seven times the rate of other industries.
By taking several precautions right off the bat, you can reduce the risk of injuries, however serious, and even death. Some of these include discussing with your coworkers what safety equipment is needed, scanning the work area for potential hazards before starting the job, using the correct tools for the job, following OSHA’s 3 Points of Contact Rule, and wearing fall protective equipment to minimize the effect of the fall.