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Focus: minimizing the constant risk of falls on building projects

The adage, “Time is money” certainly seems alive and well in the construction industry.

According to the American Society of Safety Engineers, a chief reason offered by workers employed on residential building projects as to why they forgo using technologies that protect them against falls is this: Learning and then using protective devices takes time, and that is in short supply when it comes to getting a home built from scratch.

Employees’ falls in the construction industry have always been -- and continue to be -- a major concern in Ohio and all other states across the country. Falls and scaffolding accidents are perennially a top-of-the-list cause of construction accidents, and they are often deadly.

Notwithstanding that constant peril, a high number of employees who work from heights simply refuse to use protective devices and comply with federal and state safety regulations. An audit of close to 200 residential building locales revealed an average compliance rate of less than 60 percent.

That is obvious reason for concern and a clarion call for improved performance, especially given the closely established nexus between construction work and falls.

The ASSE recently took a look at available options for protecting at-height workers and offered some recommendations to increase compliance aimed at safer working environments. The group looked especially closely at a pilot study examining the area.

A number of potential solutions for encouraging stronger safety adherence and performance emerged. Those include a stress on greater engagement between employers and outside groups, such as rental outfits that can enter a work area and work with builders on the ideal selection of and location for protective equipment.

Source: Risk & Insurance: "ASSE: Productivity concerns deter use of protective devices," Nancy Grover, Sept. 9, 2013

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