OSHA Campaign for Fall Prevention

OSHA Campaign for Fall Prevention

One third of all work-related construction deaths involve falls according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In 2010, of the 774 fatalities recorded on construction jobsites, falls played a part in 264 of them. Workers who lost their lives included 90 who fell from roofs, 68 who tumbled off of ladders, and 37 who plummeted from scaffolds.

In an effort to reduce the number of jobsite fatalities resulting from falls, OSHA has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) on a nationwide outreach campaign. Intended to raise construction employer and worker awareness of common fall hazards, the campaign provides a reminder of the simple steps anyone can take to prevent falls from roofs, ladders and scaffolds.

PLAN – Safety on the jobsite starts with careful planning. Contractors and subcontractors must evaluate the task at hand, determine how they will complete it, and ascertain what safety equipment is needed to do so. When bidding, employers should include safety equipment in their estimated costs to ensure they have the resources necessary to make life-saving tools—such as personal fall arrest systems—available to their workers.

PROVIDE – Falls from height carry the greatest risk of serious injury or death. To protect workers who are working six feet or more above lower levels, contractors and subcontractors must provide them with fall protection and the right equipment for the task at hand—from appropriate ladders and scaffolds to safety gear. All equipment should be regularly inspected to make sure it’s in good condition and safe to use.

TRAIN – Your workers must understand how to properly set-up and safely use construction equipment such as ladders, scaffolds and personal fall arrest systems. Training—for full-time, part-time and temporary or seasonal workers—is essential. Review these basics with your employees regularly:


  • When using a ladder, ensure it has been placed on a level surface. Lock the metal braces at the center of the ladder before climbing it. Face the ladder when ascending or descending, and maintain three points of contact at all times. Never overreach or attempt to “walk” the ladder.
  • When setting up a scaffold, ensure it is fully planked, all guardrails have been assembled, and the equipment is plumb and level. Have a competent worker inspect the scaffold before anyone uses it. Never climb over cross braces, stand on the guardrails, or attempt to use a ladder while on a scaffold.
  • When working on a roof, always use a personal fall arrest system. Ensure all anchor points are safe and stay connected or tied off at all times. Cleary identify holes—such as openings and skylights—before roof work begins.

Many of those who are killed or injured on construction jobsites are temporary workers with limited English proficiency. OSHA downloadable training resources are available in multiple languages to help you ensure everyone on your team knows how to avoid life-threatening falls.

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