Falls continue to be the leading cause of worker injuries and fatalities in residential construction.
In 2010, height-related falls led to 18,130 non-fatal injuries, accounting for 24% of the non-fatal injuries in construction. And in 2013, 294 of 796 construction-related deaths (36.9%) occurred as a result of a height-related fall.
As such, NAHB supports the continuing education of fall protection safety practices in the residential construction industry and OSHA’s campaign to help keep residential construction workers safe on the job.
However, NAHB has expressed concern about recent changes to the way the agency implements and enforces its fall protection standard in residential construction. Many home builders and trade contractors are unsure of what they must do to comply, especially in those situations where they believe that the use of conventional fall protection is infeasible and unworkable or their use creates a greater hazard.
NAHB urges OSHA to review and rework its fall protection standard to:
- Make it more effective and less burdensome while providing protection to workers.
- Be easily understood, implemented and enforced.
- Minimize any paperwork needed to demonstrate compliance.
- Be tailored to address the individual risks posed by each of the various residential construction and remodeling activities, the temporary nature of many of these activities, and the business operations of the small businesses that make up a majority of the residential construction industry.
- Recognize that there are specific residential construction tasks/trades where it creates a greater hazard to use conventional fall protection and that using alternative fall protection methods in these situations is a viable option.
Additionally, NAHB remains committed to providing training to and educating its members on how to reduce the risk of fall-related work injuries and how to comply with OSHA’s fall protection regulation.
Why It Matters
Proper fall protection practices not only save the lives of a company’s employees, it also minimizes the risk of the business receiving costly fines and increased workers’ compensation claims.