OSHA underscores fall prevention in ‘Plan, Provide, Train’ protocol

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a campaign at www.osha.gov/stopfalls, contending that prevention of falls—accounting for 291 of 828 total fatalities in construction during 2013—hinges on three simple steps:


SOURCES: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; OSHA
  • PLAN ahead to get the job done safely. When working from heights, such as ladders, scaffolds, and roofs, employers must plan projects to ensure that the job is done safely. Begin by deciding how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment may be needed to complete each task. When estimating the cost of a job, employers should include safety equipment, and plan to have all the necessary equipment and tools available.
  • PROVIDE the right equipment. Workers who are 6 feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To protect these workers, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear. Different ladders and scaffolds are appropriate for different jobs. 
  • TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely. Falls can be prevented when workers understand proper set-up and safe use of equipment, so they need training on the specific equipment they will use to complete the job. Employers must train workers in hazard recognition and in the care and safe use of ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems, and other site equipment.

The website is part of OSHA’s nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. The educational resources page gives workers and employers information about falls and how to prevent them. There are also training tools for employers to use and posters to display at their worksites. Many of the new resources target vulnerable workers with limited English proficiency. OSHA will continue to add information and tools to the page throughout the year.

The agency has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and National Occupational Research Agenda – Construction Sector on the nationwide outreach campaign to raise awareness among workers and employers about common fall hazards in construction, and how falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented and lives can be saved. OSHA has provided numerous materials and resources that employers can use during toolbox talks to train workers on safe practices.