Falls are the number one cause of death among construction workers. Most of them are preventable. Every year, The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are joining forces to launch a national construction fall prevention campaign. They are now getting ready for the 2017 Safety Stand-Down. If you want to learn more about this campaign and hear about the results of the previous fall prevention campaigns you are welcome to join a free webinar. During this webinar, leaders from the CPWR, NIOSH and OSHA will review the past campaigns and present their plans for 2017. The webinar will be held Wednesday March 1st at 2:00 pm. If you would like to register please click here.
Falls are the leading cause of death in construction accidents in New York and in the U.S. Some of them are caused by inadequate safety measures while others occur even though all OSHA safety measures were followed by the construction workers.
Steelworkers for example are allowed to to work up to a height of 25 feet without the use of a safety harness. OSHA rules also permit construction workers climbing a scaffold to unhook their attachment and hook it again to a higher tie-off point as they ascend.
Some contractors in New York believe OSHA rules are not strict enough and require all their workers to use a harness when they work 6 feet and higher above the ground. Some NY construction companies also require that workers climbing scaffolds use two harnesses so they are constantly hooked onto something and protected. Gilbane Building is among the contractors in New York that require all workers to follow these two rules.
A 23 year old man suffered critical injury after he stepped on a defective fire escape and fell 4 stories to the ground. 23 year old Chad Miller was about to move to a new apartment on Bedford Ave near Lefferts Boulevard in Brooklyn, NYC. He was hanging out with a friend on the fire escape outside his new place when the railing broke. Chad fell 4 stories and was critically injured. According to his dad, his son is still in a coma.
The owner of the building received a violation for failure to maintain the fire escape. It could cost him up to a $5000 penalty. There is also a good chance that the family of the victim files a premises liability lawsuit against him. In 2011 we settled a case for $5,000,000.00 when a fire escape landing on which a man was standing on collapsed causing him to fall approximately 30 feet to the ground. Discussion of case here.
A construction worker fell to his death in New York last Thursday. The 62 year old man was working on a construction site located on East 107th Street near Lexington in East Harlem New York. He was standing on a fire escape at the back of the building when the accident happened. Another worker who was standing on a nearby scaffold was passing some equipment to him when he lost his balance and fell six stories. The man wasn’t wearing any safety equipment. He died at the scene of the accident. Falls are the number one cause of death in Construction in the US. Almost 300 construction workers are dying every year after falling on the job.
Read more in the NY Daily News
Falls are the number one cause of fatal construction accidents. Every year in America, more than 10,000 hard hats suffer serious personal injury and more than 200 died because they fell while working on a construction site. In 2012 a coalition of government, labor and management representatives launched a yearly campaign to raise awareness about this issue. This year, the campaign which consists in a National Stand Down will take place from May 2nd to May 6th. On that day, OSHA is asking employers that hire construction workers to take the time to stand down and conduct a fall prevention workshop or other activity related to fall prevention with their employees. OSHA is providing interested employers with toolboxes to help them discuss specific fall prevention subjects such as ladder safety, scaffold safety or fall protection equipment.
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) recently released a detailed report about the Safety Stand Downs conducted in 2014 and 2015. The reports shows that the campaign reached around 2 million workers over the last two years. Stand-downs were mostly organized by commercial construction companies but also by highway, governmental and residential companies. Most common activities conducted on stand-down last year included training, equipment inspection and audit as well as toolbox talks. The year before meetings and handing out materials to employees as well as training were the most common activities.
Even though the participation was lower last year, the organizers are hopping to see greater participation this year and to reach out to more construction workers. On February 16th the CPWR will organize a webinar related to this campaign . Leaders from CPWR, NIOSH and OSHA will be discussing last year’s Stand-Down and highlighting the plans for 2016. People interested in attending this webinar can register here.
Falls in hospitals can cause serious personal injury and sometimes death. Every year hundreds of thousands of people are falling in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing facilities or other healthcare facilities. 30 to 50% of them will sustain injury. Elderly people are not the only ones at risk. Medical conditions, medication, surgery, medical procedures or diagnostic testings for example can result in weakening and confusion for any patient independently of his or her age and increase the risk of a fall.
According to a recent alert from the Joint Commission, falls in hospitals are a prevalent patient safety problem. Even though it can be difficult and complex to prevent, hospital can take action to prevent them. Here are recommendations suggested by the Joint Commission:
- Raise awareness about the risk of falls by communicating it to clinical and non clinical staff at every level as well as to patients and their family
A famous Broadway actor died this week-end after falling from the fire escape of an apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, NYC. Kyle Jean-Baptiste was the youngest and the first African-American actor to play the role of Jean Valjean in the Broadway Musical “Les Miserables”. According to the New York Times, Kyle was sitting on the fourth floor fire escape with a 23 year old female friend when he stood up, slipped and fell backwards to the street below.
Falls from heights are the most common cause of construction workers deaths and this number is especially concerning in the residential construction sector. To address this issue, OSHA is now enforcing similar safety standards in home building and in commercial construction. Despite this effort, falls in residential construction continues to kill thousands of construction workers every year.
Recently a group of researchers from the Washington University of St Louis joined forces with the Carpenters’union and residential contractors to launch 3 initiatives targeting apprentices, foremen and contractors as part of a research study. A revised apprenticeship training taught foremen and contractors how to choose fall prevention methods adapted to each specific situation and subsequently how to communicate these methods to their workers. As part of the study, contractors can also try new fall protection equipment on their construction site.
Participants not only increased their fall prevention knowledge but also communicated better between themselves about fall risks and how to prevent them. The study also led to a higher use of fall protection devices by workers.