NIOSH Recommends Strategic Precautions Against Fatal Falls

Jan. 5, 2001
A new NIOSH report allows individual workplaces to identify\r\nthe risk factors for falls, and develop effective preventive\r\nmeasures.

Once the third leading cause of work-related death across all industries, falls have surpassed workplace homicide to become the second leading cause after motor vehicle crashes.

Last year alone, some 717 workers died of injuries caused by falls from ladders, scaffolds, buildings or other elevations.

In a new report, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends strategic precautions to prevent fatal, work-related falls.

"Worker Deaths by Falls: A Summary of Surveillance Findings and Investigative Case Reports," allows individual workplaces to identify the risk factors for falls, and develop effective preventive measures.

It is designed to be useful for employers and workers as well as for safety professionals, according to NIOSH.

NIOSH recommends that employers design and use comprehensive fall-protection programs to reduce the risk of serious or fatal injuries.

At a minimum, employers should:

  • incorporate safety in work planning;
  • identify all fall hazards at a work site;
  • conduct safety inspections regularly;
  • train employees in recognizing and avoiding unsafe conditions; and
  • provide employees with appropriate protective equipment and train them in its use.

As tools for such programs, the report includes:

  • Extensive recommendations for preventing falls from ladders, scaffolds, buildings, fork lifts and stationary vehicle and trees.
  • All 90 case reports that NIOSH issued from investigations of fatal job-related falls under its Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program.

"Worker Deaths by Falls" is available for free by calling the NIOSH toll-free information number, (800) 356-4674.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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