workers' compensation lawyers, we know that private construction workers can be particularly
vulnerable to on-the-job injuries. According to the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace falls are one of the common causes of workplace injuries,
especially among employees in residential construction. Because falls
have become such a serious safety issue in recent years, OSHA officials
created fall protection guidance which aims to prevent fall-related injuries
- and fatalities. According to the most recent data, falls are the number
one cause of death for workers in the construction industry.
According to the Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction, employers
are required to make sure that residential construction employees are
provided with the appropriate fall protection. OSHA issued these guidelines
in December 2010 and employers are now required to meet their official
Fall Protection in Construction standard. This document contains a number
of work methods that an employer can use for assistance in complying with
this standard and the full scope of its requirements.
"Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of workplace deaths
in construction," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational
Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "We cannot tolerate workers
getting killed in residential construction when effective means are readily
available to prevent those deaths."
This OSHA directive illustrates a number of methods that should be used
to preserve the safety of employees throughout all stages of construction,
although it mainly focuses on newer construction. Some of these methods
include preventing fall-related injuries and deaths by using anchors for
personal fall arrest systems and fall restraints, ladders, and scaffolds.
Serious injuries are distressingly common among residential construction
workers. According to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatal work injuries in the private construction sector increased by 5%
in 2012 with 775 deaths, up from 738 in 2011. Of those fatalities, 668
were the result of falls, slips or trips - and construction accounted
for the largest number of work-related deaths of any industry sector in 2012.