Preventing falls on job sites

By on Apr 14, 2016

In early May, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) held its annual National Fall Prevention Stand-Down, in effort to raise awareness about workplace safety and, more specifically, falls.

According to OSHA, falls continue to be a problem on construction sites, as early data showed 337 of the 874 construction deaths in 2014 were attributed to falls.

Even more troubling is the fact that these falls could have been prevented.

So, what can you do to ensure that your job site remains safe? Here are several suggestions.

Educate your team

The purpose of the Stand-Down event is to provide an opportunity to talk to workers about falls.

While this may seem like a topic that will immediately lead to eye rolls from your team, consider this — according to a Dodge Data & Analytics SmartMarket study released in April, companies that have a strong safety policy in place have a better employee retention rate (67 percent) than those that don’t. (Read more on the study:

In other words, even though they may not always show it, your team cares very much about safety and will be loyal to your company if you care, too.

Include your subcontractors

If you’re working on a project that involves subcontractors, take some time in advance to do your homework and investigate the safety records of those companies and their workers.

Also, be sure to include your subcontractors in any site-specific safety meetings to ensure that all workers understand policies and potential hazards.

Be creative

Safety training doesn’t necessarily have to be boring. Any sort of incentive program can help keep workers engaged.

One construction company based in Buffalo, NY, created a cartoon character named “Safety Bob” and made stickers and t-shirts that workers could earn based on safe behavior. Was it silly? Sure. But it worked. (Read more:

If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional, OSHA offers a certificate of participation in connection with its Stand-Down initiative.

Refresh the basics

Maybe most importantly, it never hurts to remind everyone on site of basic safety measures.

So, be sure that everyone using equipment is properly trained. Check all harnesses. Secure any and all ladders. Cover holes or skylights when working on roofs. Make sure your scaffolds are plumb and level.

Simple, yes. But vital to ensuring workplace safety and reducing the likelihood of falls.

Following all of these steps should help not only prevent falls on your job site but improve morale and the quality of work.

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