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Falls a factor in more than 40 percent of construction deaths

When you make your living working on an Iowa construction site, you face inevitable, industry-specific risks and hazards every time you show up for work. Working with electricity, working above the ground and working on scaffolds and other temporary support systems all pose threats to today’s construction workers, although you can mitigate your risks somewhat by consistently donning and utilizing proper protective gear.

Donning and using adequate protective gear is especially critical when you are working from heights, with Safety + Health reporting that 42 percent of all construction worker fatalities occur as a result of falls.

By the numbers

Of the 768 U.S. construction worker fatalities on record between 1982 and 2015, 325 of them resulted from falls. While this number alone is alarming, so, too are the numbers relating to fall protection. Personal fall arrest systems, which generally include a harness, an anchor point and a connector piece, are designed to improve construction worker safety by reducing fall risks, but they cannot do so if workers and employers do not use them.

Of the 325 construction worker deaths that resulted from falls, more than half of them occurred when workers did not have access to a PFAS. This figure is cause for alarm, and so, too is the fact that nearly a quarter of those deaths occurred when workers did have access to a PFAS, but did not use it.

Additional factors

While lacking access to or failing to use a PFAS increases your risk of suffering a serious fall on a construction site, there are additional factors at play that are contributing to the high number of construction worker deaths. Of the 325 fall-related construction fatalities recorded, 107 of them occurred when employees were working 30 feet or higher above the ground. Additionally, inexperience is also a contributor, with about 20 percent of all recorded construction worker deaths (fall-related and otherwise) happening during the first two months of a worker’s employment.

While you can enhance your own safety by always adhering to safety and fall protection guidelines, your employer, too, has a duty to make your place of business as safe as possible for workers. 

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