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Date PostedJuly 22, 2013

Preventing Falls in Construction – Learning from Others

One of the best ways to learn about safety is to look at the examples, both good and bad set by others within the same industry. When it comes to safety one of the major issues is falls from heights, claiming more lives than any other hazard in the construction industry.

The most problematic issues on construction sites, such as falls from heights are also the most preventable. US Safety experts suggest that when engaging in work from heights, if it cannot be eliminated it therefore must be controlled -there are 3 simple steps to safeguarding workers, they are:

  1. Plan
  2. Provide
  3. Train

On a USA governmental website dedicated to workplace health and safety, experts suggest using this 3 step system to manage fall hazards. Employers should consider using this advice in developing their safety methods and training for their staff engaged in work from ladders, scaffolds, roofs or any heights.

The 3 step system starts as any good construction plan does, with planning ahead of time before the job even begins by anticipating risks and assessing them, thereafter planning how safety is going to be ensured.

When working from heights, including ladders, scaffolds and roofs employers need to plan the tasks first by deciding on how the job will be carried out, what tasks will be implemented and the safety equipment needed for each task.

www.osha.gov goes on to explain about the “planning” stage:

When estimating the cost of a job, employers should include safety equipment, and plan to have all the necessary equipment and tools available at the construction site. For example, in a roofing job, think about all of the different fall hazards, such as holes or skylights and leading edges, then plan and select fall protection suitable to that work, such as personal fall arrest systems…

Read more: https://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/index.html

The next stage of the 3 step system involves providing the right equipment for the job. Workers especially those working above 2 meters high are at risk of serious injury and possible death and in order to protect these workers employers must provide the correct fall protection and the right equipment for the job. That means they must determine whether a ladder or scaffold or other safety gear is needed and providing this equipment to workers. For example there are various different ladders and each has their own risks and merits, determine which are relevant for the task at hand.

The post goes on to explain about the “Providing” stage:

Different ladders and scaffolds are appropriate for different jobs. Always provide workers with the kind they need to get the job done safely. For roof work, there are many ways to prevent falls. If workers use personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), provide a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor. Make sure the PFAS fits, and regularly inspect all fall protection equipment to ensure it’s still in good condition and safe to use.


The final step in the process is “Training”. This involves training everyone on site to use PPE and safety equipment safely. The guidance on OSHA.gov goes on to explain:

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 ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems, and other equipment they’ll be using on the job.



Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

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