When you make your living working on a New York construction site, you learn to contend with many risks and hazards. Research shows that the biggest risk you face in your line of work is the risk of falling, with falls now the leading cause of work-related death among construction workers.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls claimed the lives of 320 construction workers in 2018. There were 1,008 construction deaths that year, so falls contributed to close to a third of them.
Recognizing fall hazards
There are numerous risks and hazards on construction sites that may contribute to falls. Many construction site falls involve ladders. Sometimes, workers use the wrong ladder for a particular job. In others, they fail to secure or use the ladders correctly, resulting in either the ladder falling or the construction worker falling from the ladder. Scaffolding, too, creates hazards. These elevated work platforms may collapse under certain circumstances, potentially injuring workers on top of and beneath them.
Minimizing fall hazards
Your employer should have safety standards in place to help you avoid construction site falls, the majority of which are preventable. Make sure to tie-off and use proper safety gear when working from heights, and always make sure you are using the correct ladder for a particular job. When you work more than 6 feet off the ground, make sure to use a personal fall arrest system. Proper training also plays a critical role in keeping you and others safe on construction sites.
While falls are the leading cause of death in construction, they also contribute to tens of thousands of injuries annually.