The construction industry is consistently listed as being among the most dangerous of all U.S. industries. This is due in large part to the safety risks posed by working from heights and the fact that roughly 33 percent of fatalities among construction workers are attributed to fall-related accidents.
For the men and women who work at construction sites in New York City, many routinely work several stories above the ground atop scaffolding, teetering on narrow ledges and scaling the facades of towering buildings. For these workers, the implementation of certain safety protocols and use of safety equipment can prevent the vast majority of fall-related injuries and deaths.
For any construction employer, the health and safety of workers should be a top concern and priority. Prior to the start of any construction project or new phase of a project, adequate planning is crucial. Workers should be informed about operational plans and encouraged to ask questions. Additionally, the mandated use of appropriate safety equipment and gear should be communicated and enforced.
Once everyone is on the same page, it's also important to discuss some of the potential challenges and hazards a worker may face when attempting to complete assigned work duties. Inclement weather, unstable structures and other types of construction defects can all interfere with a worker's ability to safety complete work assignments. It's important to acknowledge all of the potential risks involved with a specific project and to ensure that a worker is not only outfitted with the necessary safety gear, but is also confident in his or her abilities to safety do the job.
Additionally, no amount of safety equipment will prevent a worker from suffering a fall or other type of injury if he or she doesn't know how to properly use it. It's imperative, therefore, that construction employers and managers ensure all workers are trained in how to effectively use equipment like harnesses, lifelines and guardrails and that equipment is well maintained and regularly inspected.
Source: OSHA.gov, "Welcome to OSHA's Fall Prevention Campaign," Aug. 6, 2015