For the tenth year in a row, fall protection is the by far the most commonly cited violation by OSHA in its top ten most cited violations. This past year, OSHA wrote 5,424 citations related to fall protection. (Fall protection must be provided at 4 feet in general industry, and at 6 feet in construction.) In second place was hazard communication, with almost half that number¾3,199.
According to the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), Park Ridge, Ill., working at heights can be hazardous because it can expose workers to significant risks, including structure collapses, slipping through openings, being struck by falling objects, etc. A survey from the Silver Spring, Md.-based Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), which is supported by ASSP, is designed to gather information from safety and health professionals on what can be done to help advance fall protection in all industries.
The online survey is designed to explore the root causes of falls from heights, and the results will assist the ANSI/ASSP Z359 Fall Protection and Fall Restraint Committee in enhancing voluntary national fall protection and fall restraint consensus standards, which are designed to guide occupational safety at sites across all industries.
Safety professionals who take the 15-minute survey will be asked for details about a fall incident they have experienced, witnessed or investigated. Responses will be collected anonymously, and the deadline to participate is April 30.
The timing of the survey coincides with OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction. The stand-down will be held May 3-7.
According to OSHA, “fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 401 of the 1,061 construction fatalities recorded in 2019 (BLS data).”
OSHA said these deaths were preventable, so they are holding the National Safety Stand-Down “to raise fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries.”
OSHA explains that a safety stand-down is a voluntary event, and it is designed for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Any workplace can schedule a stand-down by taking a break to focus on fall hazards and to reinforce the importance of fall prevention.
Employees of companies that are not exposed to fall hazards can also use this opportunity to discuss job hazards they do face. Employees can also use this time to talk to management about falls or other hazards.