Falls are among the leading causes of injuries and deaths on construction sites. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a fall hazard is anything in a worksite that could cause a worker to lose balance or bodily support and, in turn, fall.
So, what causes these hazards?
Here are three common causes of falls on construction sites:
1. Unprotected roof openings
Roof openings are not uncommon in unfinished projects. An opening may be for a skylight, or the roof installation may be incomplete. Project owners or managers should install guardrails around such openings or cover them with plywood or planks to prevent falls.
A worker moving across the roof, possibly carrying equipment, which means they may be fully focused on the job at hand, may fail to notice an opening. Consequently, they can easily fall through it.
2. Unprotected floor openings
Construction sites typically have floor openings – the floor installation may be incomplete, or the holes may be left to install other features, such as the plumbing or wiring system. And in some cases, these holes may exist due to faulty design or substandard materials.
Floor holes present fall hazards to workers. They should be covered or prevented. Failure to do so, may mean a worker falls into a hole, sustaining an injury.
3. Unprotected edges
An unprotected edge is a surface that can lead to a fall if someone slips or trips. For example, an unfinished stairwell might not have guardrails. If a project owner/manager fails to put a temporary guardrail before a permanent one is installed, the chances of falling on the open stairwell can be high.
If you fall on a construction site while working, learn more about the steps to take.