eness campaigns, falls remain the number one cause of death in the construction industry.
In an innovative study recently published by the Center for Construction Research and Planning (CPWR), the authors, Grace Barlet, Rosa Greenberg and Jessica Bunting tried to understand why, despite all the efforts, 353 construction workers died from fall in the US in 2020.
To understand the underlying causes of fall fatalities the authors interviewed persons who experienced, witnessed, or investigated a fall accident on a construction site. They found that “insufficient or ineffective planning” was the most commonly cited primary cause of the fall (27.4%) , followed by “fall protection provided but not used” (21.7%), improper used of fall protection (17.1%) and lack of relevant training (14.8%).
The study also found that lack of planning lead to less usage of fall protections and that usage of fall protection was also linked to the employer’s policy. Employers who have a clear policy mandating fall protection usage had more employees using fall protection than employers with unclear policy in regards fall protection.
In almost half of the fall accidents under review, workers did not use fall safety equipment.
Most common reported falls were falls from a ladder, scaffold or elevated platform (16.5%), doing another task (14.5%) or working on a rooftop (14%). 27% of all fall under review were fatal.
The study also found that employees with self-rescue training had 76% less risk of dying in a fall accident than those who did not.
Additionnally workers employed by subcontractors were 2.7 time more likely to die in a fall accidents than workers employed by a general contractors.
The study clearly highlights the responsibility of the employers in proprely planning for fall prevention and protection as well as heavily promoting and training employees to use fall protections.
The entire survey and results can be downloaded here