There are few jobs as physically and mentally challenging as construction. If you work construction, you may find the work satisfying and rewarding, but not without its drawbacks. Perhaps you enjoy working outside in a variety of weather conditions, or you may dread when the Iowa weather turns extreme.
However, aside from these inconveniences, one of your greatest concerns about working construction may be falling from a height. While you may be at greater risk of numerous other injuries on the job, a fall can result in catastrophic, even fatal injuries. Unfortunately, statistics show that the rate of workers falling on construction sites continues to rise despite improvements in safety technology.
The deadly statistics
The latest data shows that more than one third of all construction workers who died on the job last year succumbed to injuries related to a fall from a height. Add to that the fact that inadequate fall protection was the most frequent safety violation the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited, and you have a recipe for disaster.
More than any other construction-related accident, such as hit-by injuries, overexertion or falling objects, a fall can injure multiple parts of your body, including your internal organs, spinal cord and brain. You are more likely to suffer disabling or fatal injuries in a fall than any other type of accident. If you fall from a height greater than 30 feet, you have little chance of surviving. However, even a six-foot fall can lead to devastating injuries.
How to make a difference?
A great deal of responsibility rests on the shoulders of your employer. Falls are often completely preventable with a combination of the following preventive measures:
- Supplying appropriate fall arrest systems, such as harnesses, lanyards or nets
- Using fall prevention, including toe guards and guardrails, as appropriate for the job
- Providing adequate light for those working at heights
- Regularly inspecting and replacing safety equipment
- Routinely assessing whether workers are using the required equipment
- Training you and your coworkers on the use of all safety devices, and holding frequent refresher training, especially when introducing new equipment
While it may be easier for your employer to focus on profits and schedules, your safety is of paramount importance. Doing your part by utilizing every available fall prevention device can reduce your chances of serious or fatal injury. Reaching out for legal assistance if you do suffer an injury can maximize your opportunity for obtaining the full compensation you deserve for your injuries.