There are numerous ways to prevent falls in the construction industry, yet they remain a leading cause of death and serious injuries for construction workers. They are a major problem year in and year out, and all workers and employers alike need to understand what safety systems they should have in place to prevent them to the best of their ability. Reducing this risk, even by a small amount, could save lives.
To “start small,” ladder safety training is a good place to begin. Workers need to know how to set a ladder up on a proper surface, what angle to use, what weight limit a ladder has and how to maintain three points of contact at all times. But there are also safety systems that will help in the event of a fall.
Arrest vs. prevention
Numerous fall prevention systems are designed to keep a fall from ever occurring. They’re not necessarily foolproof, but they should keep most workers safe. An example of such a system is a railing that is set up on a catwalk or around a roofing project.
Fall arrest systems are mechanisms like a rope and harness that can be used by a roofer or even a warehouse worker who has to get things down from high storage bays. The worker can certainly still fall, but the harness and rope system should catch them before they strike a lower level and suffer serious injuries. These systems are a bit more flexible than fall prevention systems. There are many situations in which falls cannot be prevented entirely, but workers can still be protected from injuries in the event of a slip or tumble.
Finally, fall restraint systems can be used to make sure a worker cannot physically reach an edge where they could fall. They would only be injured if there was a catastrophic system failure, such as the breakdown of an anchor point.
What options do you have?
Statistics make it clear that falls are very dangerous and quite common, even with safety systems in place. Those who have been injured or lost a loved one need to know what legal options they have. Speaking with an attorney can be a good first step.