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New NIOSH Tips for Working on Roofs, Ladders, and Scaffolds

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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently released a guide detailing various methods for preventing falls from roofs, ladders, and scaffolds as part of their Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program. In the construction industry, falls are the most common source of workplace fatalities, so contractors should be especially diligent when providing their workforce with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) for reducing the likelihood of a debilitating fall. Additionally, all contractors should focus on training their workers in fall prevention tactics. In this brief article, the Florida construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law will discuss the tips provided in the NIOSH report.

The Statistics of Falling

Every year, more than 310 construction workers in the United States are involved in fatal falling accidents. On top of that, another 10,350 are seriously injured from falls. In 2016, 124 workers died after falling off of roofs. Falls from ladders and scaffolds accounted for another 104 and 60 deaths respectively. Considering the fact that 81 percent of roof-related deaths occur in the construction industry, as well as 57 percent of ladder-related deaths and 86 percent of scaffold-related deaths, it’s apparent that contractors need to reinforce the importance of fall prevention for their workers.

Tips for Preventing Falls from Roofs

The NIOSH report suggests the following roof-related fall prevention measures:

  • Track weather patterns and updates
  • Implement a buddy system
  • Utilize a proven fall prevention program
  • Enforce proper PPE usage
  • Train workers in fall protection/prevention
  • Inspect fall prevention equipment daily
  • Install the proper anchorage for fall arrest systems
  • Extend ladder side rails three feet past the edge of the roof

Tips for Preventing Falls from Ladders

In addition, the NIOSH report strongly encourages the following ladder-related fall prevention measures:

  • Implement a training program for ladder usage
  • Utilize the proper ladder for the project
  • Inspect ladders daily
  • Establish a base on flat or level ground
  • Secure the ladder in a safe position
  • Extend ladder side rails three feet past the edge of the roof
  • Never face away from the ladder once mounted
  • Maintain three points of contact
  • Observe ladder load capacities
  • Consult the NIOSH Ladder Safety App to angle your ladder correctly

Tips for Preventing Falls from Scaffolds

Finally, the NIOSH report reinforces the importance of following scaffold-related fall prevention measures including:

  • Train a supervisor to oversee scaffold setup
  • Install scaffolds on stable ground
  • Follow manufacturer guidelines and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards during setup
  • Utilize guardrails or a fall arrest system when working ten feet above a lower level
  • Inspect scaffolds and scaffolding components daily
  • Make certain that scaffolds are planked properly
  • Secure scaffolds
  • Provide secure access to scaffolds

If you would like to speak with a Florida construction attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.