For construction workers, falls are one of the biggest hazards of the career. Workers are often at different heights on a build, they use ladders, climb scaffoldings, work on roofs and generally just have a lot more exposure to fall risks than workers in other professions. Naturally, this leads to more falls, and they often cause fatal injuries.
If you are a construction worker and you know that you cannot avoid these risks, you at least want to know how to work safely. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Always check a scaffold to make sure that the structure itself is secure.
- Be extra careful when working around power lines and other such hazards.
- Inspect ladders before every use.
- When possible, use fall protection devices. This could mean wearing a rope and a harness, for instance, or it may mean using an aerial lift instead of walking on a surface at all.
- If using a ladder, always pick the right type of ladder and ensure that it is the right size. Many falls happen when workers have to lean or reach, or when the type of ladder doesn’t match the job at hand.
- Never rush when working at heights. Make safety more important than productivity.
- Do not overload ladders, scaffolds or other systems.
- When climbing, do not carry anything — like materials or power tools — in your hands at the same time.
These tips come from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which tracks and responds to accidents, so they can help. Even they don’t prevent all accidents, though, so injured workers need to know what options they have.