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.
Four workers were insulating the roof and applying the top layer of sheet metal roof decking on a tall, pre-engineered building. The roof was fairly flat, there was no controlled decking zone, and the workers were not wearing any personal fall protection. The workers were using drills to screw the metal sheets into the purlins.
As one of the workers walked down the roof, he lost his footing. He fell through the space between the purlins, and landed on the floor below. He died the next day from his injuries.
Let’s look at the events that led up to this tragic incident, and see how it could have been prevented. Originally, the workers had no fall protection, which OSHA requires the employer to provide when working at heights of 15 feet and above.
Let’s look again at the workers installing the metal roofing sheets and see what happens when these workers use fall protection. They are now using a temporary horizontal lifeline. This involves a horizontal cable attached to two or more anchor points on the roof. In this system, the workers connect their harnesses to a horizontal lifeline that is secured to the roof structure instead of individual anchor points.
Again, as the worker loses his footing and falls between the purlins, his lifeline stops him from falling to the floor below. While he is hanging from his fall arrest system, a co-worker brings over a lift and rescues the worker.
This example shows the importance of employers following OSHA’s fall protection standards to ensure that workers are provided with a safe workplace. 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.
If you would like more information, contact OSHA at www.osha.gov or 1-800-321-OSHA that’s 1-800-321-6742.
Theme 1: How to Protect Workers from Falls