Is your safety only important at work or throughout your life?
Working at heights is a common and necessary task for many workers in various industries, including construction, manufacturing, and maintenance. However, working at heights can also be extremely dangerous and result in serious injuries or death if the proper precautions are not taken. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry and accounted for 33% of all construction fatalities in 2020.
In the last 5 years, OSHA has reported the following statistics for incidents involving working at heights and falls:
- 2020: 365 out of 1,061 total construction fatalities were caused by falls.
- 2019: 384 out of 1,061 total construction fatalities were caused by falls.
- 2018: 391 out of 1,008 total construction fatalities were caused by falls.
- 2017: 364 out of 971 total construction fatalities were caused by falls.
- 2016: 364 out of 937 total construction fatalities were caused by falls.
It is important to note that these statistics include not only falls from buildings and structures, but also falls from ladders and other elevated surfaces.
Falls can also occur in home incidents, such as when a person is working on a ladder to change a light bulb or fix a roof. In 2019, OSHA reported more than 600 fall fatalities in the home, with approximately 20% of these incidents involving a ladder.
To protect yourself while working at heights, it is essential to follow proper safety procedures and use the appropriate safety equipment. Some tips include:
- Use a fall protection system, such as a harness, when working at a height of 6 feet or more.
- Use a secure, stable ladder or platform to access elevated surfaces.
- Inspect ladders and other equipment before use to ensure they are in good condition.
- Secure ladders at the top and bottom to prevent them from slipping.
- Use a personal fall arrest system (PFAS) when working at heights, such as a safety harness and lanyard.
Employers are also responsible for providing a safe work environment and ensuring their employees are trained on the proper use of safety equipment and procedures. Employers should also regularly inspect their equipment and ensure it is in good condition.
In conclusion, falls from heights continue to be a significant problem in the workplace and at home. By following proper safety procedures and using the appropriate safety equipment, workers can protect themselves from serious injury or death. Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment and train employees on the proper use of safety equipment and procedures.