Fall Prevention: on Residential Construction Sites
- Vicki Kaskutas (Washington University School of Medicine) | Bradley Evanoff (Washington University School of Medicine) | Harry Miller (Carpenters’ District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- July 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 36 - 40
- 2013. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 38 since 2007
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Falls from height remain the most common cause of workplace fatalities among residential construction workers, accounting for 64%: of the fatalities in residential building and 100% of the fatalities among framing contractors in 2010 (BLS, 2011). Despite a recent decrease in fall incidence rates (BLS, 2011), 164 of the 1,025 carpenter apprentices surveyed (16%) reported a fall from height in the past year, and 512 of these carpenters (50%) knew someone who had recently fallen (Kaskutas, Dale, Lipscomb, et al., 2010).
Work site fall safety audits at 197 residential sites demonstrated an average compliance of 59% with fall protection and/or prevention measures, ranging from 28% for roof truss installation to 80% for roof sheathing (Kaskutas, Dale, Nolan, et al., 2009). As a result, residential construction workers frequently work at heights without fall protection. For example, workers installing roof trusses may stand on the top of walls (Photo 1) or in the roof truss without fall arrest or protection (Photo 2).
OSHA (2010) now requires use of conventional fall protection at residential construction sites when workers are more than 6 ft from a lower level; this includes safety nets, guard-rails and/or personal fall arrest systems (OSHA, 2006). OSHA’s (2011) Guidance Document for Residential Construction outlines technologies to provide conventional fall protection during home construction. It is critical to identify and evaluate these technologies and to diffuse these technologies to construction professionals. This pilot study identified fall protection technologies, measured a small sample of carpentry professionals’ perceptions of these technologies, and pilot tested two devices with several residential contractors in St. Louis, MO.
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