ASSE, OSHA, and NIOSH Join Forces On Fall Prevention

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has joined with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to support a new “Fall Prevention Campaign” aimed at raising awareness about how to prevent falls in construction.

The campaign is also supported by state governments, private industries, trade associations, academia, and professional and labor organizations. It focuses on providing prevention information and training materials on three major types of falls: from roofs, from ladders, and from scaffolds. More than 10,000 construction workers were injured as a result of falling while working from heights in the U.S. and another 225 were killed in 2010.

Ron Sokol, ASSE member, who also represents ASSE on the NIOSH National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Construction Sector that developed the campaign and is President and CEO of the Safety Council-Texas City, noted that more is needed to be done to prevent falls, such as this new initiative. “This effort took some time to develop as we ‘proof tested’ all of the information in this campaign with workers and employers – in English and Spanish, but was completed on a very aggressive schedule for a campaign of this magnitude,” Sokol said. “We want to reach as many people as possible to prevent construction workers and others from falling while at work.”

Some of the risks involve working on sloping roofs, from heights, at the edge of buildings, possible slipping, carrying equipment and more. To help construction workers stay safe, safety, health, and environmental professionals also use “consensus standards” such as Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall Arrest & Rescue Systems, Scaffolding Safety Requirements, and Emergency Procedures for Construction and Demolition Sites.

OSHA’s new fall prevention web page has detailed information in English and Spanish. In addition, Sokol said the fall prevention literature will be translated into seven additional languages by OSHA for broader distribution. Also, the campaign information and resources will continually be updated.

“Planning ahead, identifying risks, providing training along with the right equipment will help prevent construction worker falls,” Sokol said. “The information from the new Fall Prevention Campaign will be invaluable. We urge everyone to share it with their company, friends, co-workers, community, schools and more. We are all part of the solution to help prevent falls.”