Falls are the number one cause of fatal accidents in construction, with these deaths accounting for 36.9 percent of construction fatalities in 2013. Many of these deaths occur in residential construction, and beginning in 2010, OSHA began enforcing its fall protection standard for all residential construction sites, not just commercial construction sites (see 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13)).
To assist residential construction companies in achieving compliance with this standard, OSHA has published helpful guidance documents. To further educate contractors and their workers, a new website produced by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and supported by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) catalogs fall protection for residential construction.
The website, called Fall Protection Equipment Resource for New Home Construction, provides two methods for looking at fall protection options: type of fall protection and phase of construction. If, for example, workers know they will be working with scaffolds, they can go right to the scaffolds section of the site and learn about the different types of scaffolds. Information provided includes when each type of scaffold would be used during a construction project, how to install it and links to manuals, vendors and even informational videos. Plenty of photos are provided so website visitors can see the differences between each type of fall protection.
Instead, if users want to research what kind of fall protection might be needed during a particular phase of construction, they can explore the website that way. For example, if someone selects the phase of construction about installing windows and doors, the catalogue will provide links to over 70 types of equipment that might be used. A contractor could use this function to evaluate options for fall protection at a worksite, while construction workers could learn more about the specific devices they’ve been assigned to use at work.
Overall, the site covers many types of fall protection including personal fall arrest systems, guardrails, hole covers, safety nets, scaffolds, lifts and ladders. It also includes products from a variety of manufacturers so users can explore potential fall protection options (although the site notes that the researchers do not specifically endorse any of these products).
The Fall Protection Equipment Resource for Home Construction website takes fall protection and breaks it down into pieces to help people understand the equipment they need for their jobs. It could prove useful for workers, but perhaps also for business decision makers who want to explore the options they can use to achieve OSHA compliance. Visit the site to see if it could help you or your workers.
Interested in learning more about personal fall arrest systems? Read How to Use a Personal Fall Arrest System or take a look at the infographic below.