Numbers at Work: Deadly Falls "Up"

Deadly Falls "Up"

How can a fall "up" be deadly?  How can you fall "up" anyway? This post isn't about falling up at all, actually. It's about the fact that from 2003 to 2006 fatalities from falls have increased. It's an alarming statistic that continues to plague many industries.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks data throughout many industries in the United States.  The yearly totals show an increase of 127 fatal falls over a three-year period. That's an increase of nearly 20 percent!

I am personally baffled due to a couple of observations dating back beyond 2003. One is the amount of fall protection training that is held annually. I know that our company has done around 250 workshops in that time that covered minimum fall protection requirements. And if you add all the other organizations and trade groups doing similar training, it is fair to say that awareness must have risen since 2003.  The other item to consider is improved equipment and fall arrest systems are widely available. If somebody really wants to protect someone from falling, then there's a device or method to do just that.

If your operations involve elevated work, it may be time for a review of how you're performing. OSHA has an OSHA Construction eTOOL that will walk you through common hazards and how to avoid them.