OSHA campaign comes to Minnesota to highlight fall prevention

OSHA recently launched a campaign, with stops in Minnesota, highlighting fall prevention in the construction industry.

Falls continue to be a leading cause of death and injury in construction

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has brought its fall awareness campaign to Minnesota, according to Finance & Commerce. The campaign seeks to better educate construction workers and their employers about how to prevent falls from happening through information sessions and educational materials. OSHA statistics show that falls are a leading cause of construction accidents, including in Minnesota. A number of deadly accidents in the state in recent years have highlighted the danger and OSHA hopes the campaign will help improve safety conditions for construction workers throughout the country.

Fall prevention roadshow

OSHA's National Fall Prevention Stand Down campaign occurred May 4 to 15 and included stops at eight project sites throughout Minnesota, including in downtown Minneapolis. At the campaign roadshow workers were quizzed on how to spot fall dangers, including how to identify whether a safety harness needs to be replaced. OSHA says that it is aiming to reach 3 million workers through the campaign.

Workers at one Minneapolis information session, for example, were given a 32-page booklet about fall prevention and had the option of watching a safety trailer about fall safety. Minneapolis construction workers are hardly immune from the dangers of falls at construction sites. In 2006, for example, an ironworker died at a construction site at First Street and Third Avenue after falling 35 stories.

Leading cause of injuries

Although falls from high buildings are a serious threat and tend to gather the most attention, OSHA points out that most fall-related injuries occur from heights of just six to 15 feet. For example, in Minnesota last year falls from ladders seriously injured nine workers, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry. Safety experts say that falls from relatively short heights account for a larger share of industries since the need for safety is often overlooked in such situations.

The danger of falls overall is also highlighted by both state and federal statistics. Minnesota OSHA says that of the 17 workplace fatalities it investigated last year, five were caused by falls. Across the U.S., there were 298 deaths caused by falls in the construction industry in 2013 out of a total of 828 construction deaths overall. Furthermore, according to Safety+Health Magazine, fall protection violations were the leading cause of OSHA citations in fiscal year 2014 in the U.S., accounting for 6,348 serious violations and 116 willful violations.

Construction accidents

While construction is a dangerous industry by its very nature, the risks and dangers are often exacerbated by employers who fail to follow proper safety regulations and guidelines and put their workers in harm's way. An accident can leave a person not only suffering from a serious injury, but may also prevent him from returning to work and earning a living for his family. In such situations, compensation can prove vital in order to pay mounting medical bills and other expenses related to an accident. By contacting a workers' compensation attorney today, injured workers will have somebody on their side fighting for their rights and interests in the aftermath of a workplace-related injury.

Keywords: construction, accident, injury