Fall Protection: Is Your Program Evolving Or Falling Behind?

Todd Hohn

At last year’s National Safety Council Congress and Expo, OSHA presenters noted that fall protection was the agency’s second-most cited violation category. That’s no surprise — fall protection consistently ranks among OSHA’s highest number of inspections and total fines. In one high-profile case last year, OSHA fined a Pennsylvania company more than $500,000 following a roofer’s fatal fall.

Justification for investing in a strong fall protection program goes much deeper than avoiding six-figure penalties. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recorded well more than 600 fall-related fatalities in 2009, and falls are perennially cited as the leading cause of worker death in the construction industry.

Also, falls represent an enormous business cost. BLS logged more than 212,000 incident cases involving falls in private industry in 2009. With a high percentage of falls resulting in serious injury, that translates to significant lost time, workers’ compensation, litigation, and related costs. Falls also impact morale, productivity and corporate reputation and can be a deciding factor in job bids. Read the rest of this article on ISHN.