Laborers Health and Safety Fund of North America
Falls from a height as low as 6 feet can be deadly, so don't take chances with safety.

The Truth About Fall Fatalities and Injuries [Infographic]

Nov. 18, 2013
About one-third of fatalities in construction are fall-related, and most are from roofs, ladders and scaffolding.

As many as five construction workers a week are killed in falls. In fact, falls are the No. 1 cause of work-related deaths for construction workers.

According to this infographic from the Laborers Health and Safety Fund of North America, workers don’t have to fall very far to suffer serious injuries or even death. Nearly two-thirds of all injuries are related to slips, trips and falls from ladders. Almost half of all fatal falls are from 20 feet or less; some are from less than 6 feet.

The largest percentage of fatalities from falls on construction sites – regardless of the height of the fall – are the result of head injuries.

Remember this: The average person’s reaction time is half a second. In that time you fall 4 feet. As you fall, gravity pulls you down and your speed quickly increases. That means your impact force increases too. And, once you start falling, you will stop only when you hit a lower surface. A person who weighs about 200 pounds and falls just 6 feet will hit the ground with almost 10,000 pounds of force.

Fall protection at heights is necessary to save lives. Also important is ladder safety.

Remember these tips:

  • Face the ladder while climbing up or down.
  • Keep yourself centered between the rails (no leading over one side or the other).
  • Use a 3-point contact.
  • Carry no loads.
  • Only one person at a time should be on a ladder.
  • Avoid leaning, stretching or making moves that can throw you off balance.
  • Stay alert when getting on or off the ladder.
  • Do not stand on the top rung or top of a stepladder.
  • Do not stand on the top three rungs of a straight or extension ladder.

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