Fall Protection

A preliminary total of 4,383 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2012, down from a revised count of 4,693 fatal work injuries in 2011, according to results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 2012 total represents the second lowest preliminary total since CFOI was first conducted in 1992. The rate of fatal work injury for U.S.workers in 2012 was 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, down from a rate of 3.5 per 100,000 in 2011.

Over the last 5 years, net increases to the preliminary count have ranged from 84 in 2011 to 211 in 2009. The revised 2011 figure represented a 2 percent increase over the preliminary total, while the 2009 figure was a 5 percent increase. Revised 2012 data from CFOI will be released in the late Spring of 2014.

Key preliminary findings of the 2012 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:

  • Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector increased    5 percent to 775 in 2012 from 738 in 2011.
  • Total hours worked in the private construction industry increased one percent in 2012. The increase in fatal occupational injuries in 2012 follows five consecutive years of declining fatal injury counts in the construction sector. Fatal construction injuries are down 37 percent since 2006.
  • Since 2011, CFOI has identified whether fatally-injured workers were working as contractors at the time of the fatal incident. In 2012, 708 decedents were identified as contractors, many of whom worked in construction and transportation occupations.
  • Fatal work injuries declined among non-Hispanic white workers (down 10 percent) and Hispanic or Latino workers (down 5 percent) in 2012. Fatal work injuries were higher among non-Hispanic black or African-American workers and non-Hispanic Asian workers.
  • Fatal work injuries involving workers under the age of 16, nearly doubled, rising from 10 in 2011 to 19 in 2012—the highest total since 2005. Fatal work injuries in the other age groups declined in 2012.
  • Fatal work injuries among workers 55 years of age and older declined for the second straight year.
  • Work-related suicides declined 10 percent from 2011 totals, but violence accounted for about 17 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2012.
  • Fatal work injuries in the private mining sector rose in 2012, led by an increase in fatal injuries to workers in oil and gas extraction industries. Fatal work injuries in oil and gas extraction industries rose 23 percent to 138 in 2012, reaching a new high for the series.

Worker characteristics

The number of fatal work injuries involving non-Hispanic white workers declined 10 percent in 2012, but rose by 13 percent for non-Hispanic Asian workers. Despite the increase, Asian workers still recorded a lower rate of fatal injury than the rate for workers overall (1.8 per 100,000 FTE workers for non-Hispanic Asians versus 3.2 per 100,000 FTE workers for workers overall).

Fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers dropped to 708 in 2012 from 749 in 2011, a decrease of 5 percent. Of the 708 fatal work injuries incurred by Hispanic or Latino workers, 454 (or 64 percent) involved foreign-born workers. Overall, there were 777 fatal work injuries involving foreign-born workers in 2012, of which the greatest share (299 or 38 percent) were born in Mexico.

Fatal work injuries increased for workers under 16 years of age, rising to 19 in 2012 from 10 in 2011, reaching its highest level since 2005. Fourteen of these young decedents were employed as agricultural workers. Fatal work injuries involving men fell from 4,308 in 2011 to 4,045 in 2012—the lowest total since the inception of the fatality census in 1992.

Fatal injuries to both wage and salary workers and self-employed workers declined in 2012.

Transportation incidents accounted for more than 2 out of every 5 fatal work injuries in 2012. Of the 1,789 transportation-related fatal injuries, about 58 percent (1,044 cases) were roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles. Non-roadway incidents, such as a tractor overturn in a farm field, accounted for another 13 percent of the transportation-related fatal injuries. About 16 percent of fatal transportation incidents in 2012 involved pedestrians who were struck by vehicles. Of the 283 fatal work injuries involving pedestrians struck by vehicles, 65 occurred in work zones. (Note that transportation counts presented in this release are expected to rise when updated 2012 data are released in Spring 2014 because key source documentation detailing specific transportation-related incidents has not yet been received.)


Fatal work injuries in construction and extraction occupations rose for the second year in a row to 838—a 5 percent increase from 2011. Hours worked increased one percent in this occupation group during that period. Fatal injuries among construction trades workers rose in 2012 to 577 after 5 years of decline. This marked an 8 percent increase over the series low of 533 in 2011, but a 41 percent drop from the high of 977 reported in 2006. Fatal work injuries to construction laborers, the subgroup in this category with the highest number of fatalities, increased 10 percent to 210 in 2012, following a series low of 191 in 2011. Fatal injuries to roofers, another subgroup within construction trades workers, rose to 70 in 2012, a 17 percent rise from 2011 marking the highest count in 5 years.

Fatal work injuries in transportation and material moving occupations were down 7 percent to 1,150 in 2012. Fatal work injuries in this occupational group accounted for about one quarter of all fatal occupational injuries. Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers are the subgroup within transportation and material moving occupations with the highest number of fatal injuries. Dropping 4 percent, this subgroup recorded 741 fatalities in 2012. Fatal injuries to taxi drivers and chauffeurs were down 28 percent to a series low of 46. (As noted, transportation and material moving counts presented in this release are expected to rise when updated 2012 data are released in Spring 2014.)

The number of fatal work injuries among protective service occupations decreased 21 percent in 2012 to 224 fatalities–reaching the lowest count since the occupational series began in 2003. The decline was led by lower numbers of fatal injuries to police and sheriff’s patrol officers, which dropped 20 percent to 104 in 2012 to continue a two-year downward trend. Fatal injuries to both security guards and firefighters reached series lows with 48 and 17 fatalities, respectively.

Fatal work injuries to workers in management occupations declined 8 percent to 429 in 2012—the lowest level in the series. This decrease was driven primarily by the 19 percent decline in fatal injuries to farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers from 268 in 2011 to 216 in 2012.

Fatalities among farming, fishing, and forestry occupations declined 6 percent to 245 in 2012. This was led by the 24 percent drop in fatalities to fishers and related fishing workers from 42 in 2011 to a series low of 32 in 2012. Fatal injuries to logging workers have remained somewhat level for the last three years, decreasing slightly to 62 in 2012.

Fatal injuries to resident military personnel reached a series low in 2012, dropping 25 percent from 57 fatalities in 2011 to 43.

To read the entire article go to, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm

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In a recent letter to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on the proposed “Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment” rule (29 CFR, Part 1910), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) urged OSHA to utilize existing fall standards and the voluntary consensus standards process widely used in industry as it develops the new rule.

ASSE believes the process and the end users would be better served if standards such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) ANSI/ASSE Z359 Fall Arrest Code as well as the ANSI/ASSE A1264.1-2007 Safety Requirements for Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces and Their Access; Workplace Floor, Wall and Roof Openings; Stairs and Guardrails Systems standards were utilized in developing the OSHA rule.

A voluntary consensus standard is a documented agreement, established by a consensus of subject matter experts and approved by a recognized body that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. Voluntary consensus standards developed by industry in accordance with ANSI’s procedures for due process, openness and consensus are often subsequently adopted by the government as part of the regulatory framework. Currently, ASSE is secretariat for 11 standards projects overseeing several committees made up of subject matter experts.

In his August 19 letter to Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels, ASSE president Darryl C. Hill, Ph.D., CSP, said, “ASSE’s members are most concerned with several inconsistencies between the proposed rule and relevant consensus standards. We believe OSHA has been given a responsibility to utilize consensus standards like Z359 and A1264 by Congress in Public Law 104-113, ‘The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995’ and through the Office of Management and Budget’s Circular A-119, ‘Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in the Conformity Assessment Activities’.

“We understand the agency’s responsibilities in developing a standard are more complex than simply mirroring consensus standards and that its current ability to update references to consensus standards is inadequate, but we believe the ANSI/ASSE Z359 and the ANSI/ASSE A1264.1-2007 standards developed by subject matter experts should be used in developing this rule revision,” Hill said. “ASSE supports the performance-oriented approach that would set a general requirement coupled with a non-mandatory appendix of appropriate national consensus standards proposed in OSHA’s rulemaking, ‘Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Personal Protective Equipment’. We urge OSHA to move that proposal forward, especially when it comes to enhancing workplace safety and health.”

ASSE stated its overall appreciation for OSHA’s effort in this rulemaking to be consistent with the approaches to fall protection reflected in current national voluntary consensus standards and that some of the concerns ASSE raised earlier in the rulemaking process have been addressed.

However, there are concerns. Hill commented on several specific topics that ASSE’s members believed OSHA had not gone far enough in addressing in the rule including body belts for work positioning devices; the hierarchy of controls in Z359; fall protection on rolling stock and motor vehicles; fall protection for employees standing or climbing on stacked materials; qualified climbers; qualified person inspecting walking/working surfaces; trigger heights; training; competent person; body belts; snaphooks; personal fall protection systems; the deceleration distance requirement; the conversion factor; and, positioning systems.

“While ASSE’s members have various concerns about the current proposed rule, we do commend OSHA for its efforts to advance this rulemaking and offer whatever assistance our members or the Z359 and A1264 committees can provide to help ensure a positive outcome,” Hill concluded.

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, Ill.-based ASSE is the oldest safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor and education. For more information, go to www.asse.org.

OSHA publishes proposed rulemaking to prevent injuries from slips, trips and falls on walking-working surfaces

OSHA Release: OSHA has announced in a notice of proposed rulemaking published in yesterday’s Federal Register its plans to require improved worker protection from tripping, slipping and falling hazards on walking and working surfaces. A public hearing on the revised changes will be held after the public comment period for the NPRM.

“This proposal addresses workplace hazards that are a leading cause of work related injuries and deaths,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.

The NPRM describes revisions to the Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment standards to help prevent an estimated annual 20 workplace fatalities and more than 3,500 injuries serious enough to cause people to miss work. For example, in July 2009, a worker at a chocolate processing plant was killed after falling from an unguarded work platform.

“This is a clear and grave example of the human cost incurred when fall protection safeguards are absent, ignored or inadequate,” said Michaels. “The loss of a worker’s life might have been prevented if the protective measures in these revised standards had been in place and in use.”

The current walking-working surfaces regulations allow employers to provide outdated and dangerous fall protection equipment such as lanyards and body belts that can result in workers suffering greater injury from falls. Construction and maritime workers already receive safer, more effective fall protection devices such as self-retracting lanyards and ladder safety and rope descent systems, which these proposed revisions would also require for general industry workers.

The current walking-working surfaces standards also do not allow OSHA to fine employers who let workers climb certain ladders without fall protection. Under the revised standards, this restriction would be lifted in virtually all industries, allowing OSHA inspectors to fine employers who jeopardize their workers’ safety and lives by climbing these ladders without proper fall protection

A Confined Space Safety Policy can be divided into 9 sections.
This article briefly describes the nine parts of a comprehensive yet efficient confined space safety program.

1 – Purpose – The confined space safety policy states the requirements for the identification and safe entry into both permit required and non-permit required confined spaces.  The policy applies to areas of the workplace not designed for continuous occupancy and containing recognized serious safety or health hazards.
2 – Reference – OSHA 29 CFR 1910.146
3 – Scope – Applicable to all of the business’s employees, visitors and contractors.
4 – Administration – Variable, but generally administration of the confined space policy is by safety coordinators, supervisors, engineers and other trained managerial staff.
5 – Definitions – Can be standard, see: OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Act
6 – Descriptions –

Confined Space is an area/space where an employee: – has limited openings for entry and egress; – can bodily enter and which is large enough to perform assigned work; – could be engulfed by bulk materials; – is not intended to continuously occupy.
Non-Permit Required Confined Space is a confined space neither containing nor having the potential to contain any hazard.
Permit Required Confined Space is a confined space with: – a hazardous atmosphere or potential for it; – material that could engulf an entrant; – converging/tapering walls/floors that could entrap or asphyxiate; – a recognized hazard.
Procedures Followed For All Permit Required Confined Space Entry
– – Permit
– – Issuance – By the supervisor, mandatory for the employee, one shift in duration.
– – Cancellation – At shift end or on job completion.
– – Retention – Must be reviewed and kept. –
– – Alternate Entry/Space Reclassification – Specific ref: OSHA 29 CFR 1910.146 (c)(5)/(c)(7)
– – Pre-Entry Briefing – By permit issuing entry supervisor.
– – Contractor Notification – Outside contractor adheres to procedures – compliance must be assured.
– – Lighting Requirements – Natural, auxiliary, emergency.
– – Special Tools and Equipment – Intrinsically safe in flammable or combustible atmosphere.
– – Preparation and Hazard Control – Preventing engulfment, burns. Lockout/tagout procedures.
– – Assuring adequate ventilation.
– – Pre-Entry Atmospheric Testing – Includes employee training with testing equipment.
– – Monitor Calibration and Testing
– – Field and Manufacturer Testing.
– – Attendant Duties – Mandatory for permit required confined space entry, no other duties.
– – Entry Supervisor Duties – Trained and authorized entry supervisor.
– – Safety Equipment – PPE, non-entry rescue, rescue, general.
– – Equipment Inspection – Per manufacturer’s recommendation.
– – Handling Problems
– – Rescue and Emergency Services – Documented, available, trained, equipped.
– – Summoning Rescue Services Procedure

7 – Responsibilities – Employees and Entry Supervisor – Safety Coordinators – Supervisors – Contractors
8 – Training – Initial – Refresher – Annual
9 – Revision – Annually by Safety Coordinators

These are the nine parts of a Confined Space Safety Policy.
Fleshed out details of just such a policy can be read at Confined Space Safety Policy

Unsafe Ladder Use.pngLadder Safety.png 

See anything wrong HERE???

The chief hazard when using a ladder is falling. A poorly designed, maintained, or improperly used ladder may collapse under the load placed upon it and cause the employee to fall. As a result, ladders cause a large number of injuries. One study concerning ladder-related injuries indicated that in more than half of the incidents the ladder either moved, slipped, fell, or broke while the employee was using it. The study also indicated that ladders were secured or braced in fewer than half of the incidents. And, in more than half of the incidents employees were carrying things in their hands at the time they fell. OSHA has general industry standards that apply to the design, construction, and use of portable wood ladders, portable metal ladders, fixed ladders, and stairs. The standards set requirements for ladder construction materials, length restrictions, spacing between rungs, clearance around fixed ladders, etc.


Fall Protection.pngIn the construction industry, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires fall protection there is any risk of a worker falling from an elevation of 6 ft. or more. A personal fall arrest system is a system designed to “arrest” an employee in a fall from a working level. A personal fall arrest system contains three parts: anchorage connector, body wear, and connecting device.

The first part of a personal fall arrest system, the anchorage connector, is used to join the connecting device to an anchorage point, or tie-off point. The anchorage must be capable of supporting 5,000 pounds of force per worker, as required by OSHA, and the anchorage point must be high enough so that the worker will not make contact with the lower level in the event of a fall.

The next part of a personal fall arrest system is the body harness. The body harness is a series of straps which is designed to distribute the fall arrest forces throughout the parts of a falling worker’s body. A body harness is the only acceptable form of body wear to be used as part of a fall arrest system; the use of a body belt for fall arrest was prohibited as of January 1, 1998.

The connecting device, the third and final part of a fall arrest system, is the device which connects the body harness to the anchorage point. Commonly used connecting devices are shock-absorbing lanyards, fall limiters, and self-retracting lifelines. To determine the proper type of connecting device that should be used, the potential fall distance must be calculated. Factors such as the type of work being performed and the work environment should also be taken into consideration when selecting a proper connecting device.

Before a fall arrest system is used, it should be inspected for mildew, wear, damage, and/or other deterioration. Defective components should be removed if the strength or function of the component has been diminished. If a fall has occurred, the fall arrest system should not be used again until it has been inspected.

All workers should be trained to safely and properly use a fall arrest system. Worker training should include proper anchoring techniques, estimation of free-fall and total fall distances, and inspection of the system.

This article was written by Justin Rogers, The Lombardi Law Firm  West Des Moines, Iowa.

OSHA recently fined a roofing company over $200,000 when an employee was killed when he fell 16 feet through a skylight. OSHA issued eight willful citations to the company for its failure to provide fall protection in hoisting areas and on low-sloped roofs; failing to cover skylight openings to prevent falls; and not training employees about fall hazards. Seven of the citations allege per-instance willful violations of three OSHA requirements. A willful violation is defined as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

Falls are the #1 cause of worker’s death in the construction industry.  The Compliance Resource Center reported on (ANSI)/ASSE Z359.2 fall protection in May of 2007.  Fall protection must be provided at four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime and six feet in construction. Here are some Fall Protection Tips from OSHA:

Fall Protection Tips
• Identify all potential tripping and fall hazards before work starts.
• Look for fall hazards such as unprotected floor openings/edges, shafts, skylights, stairwells, and roof openings/edges.
• Inspect fall protection equipment for defects before use.
• Select, wear, and use fall protection equipment appropriate for the task.
• Secure and stabilize all ladders before climbing them.
• Never stand on the top rung/step of a ladder.
• Use handrails when you go up or down stairs.
• Practice good housekeeping.  Keep cords, welding leads and air hoses out of walkways or adjacent work areas.


Fall Protection.png

Fall Protection Seminar


Tuesday March 25th

8:00 am to 12:00 pm

Registration starts at 7:30am

Where: Eigerlab

605 Fulton Avenue

Rockford, Illinois 61103

Early Registration: $75.00

At Door: $100.00

Registration Contact:

John Vaughan

Fax: 815.633-6609



Phone: 815.633-6609

Fall protection is a complicated issue and one of the most important

faced by an employer or worksite supervisor. With over 100,000

reported incidents per year, falls from heights almost always result

in serious injury.

In the construction industry, falls are the number one cause of

worker death. In any industry, not having fall protection can have

serious consequences.

When it comes to fall protection, there is no margin for error. Every

day, workers risk their lives to accomplish elevated tasks that are

essential to the development and operation of our world. From

1992-2000 there were over 3,400 deaths due to falls from heights.

The key to effective fall protection training is practical, hands-on

experience. At the end of the session, you will be able to:

1. Discuss the causes of falls and when fall protection is

required: why the OSHA Standard at 4 feet, 6 feet, or 15 feet.

2. Identify categories of fall protection.

3. Determine how to select fall protection, anchorage, body

support, and connectors.

You’ll also enjoy the experience of our hands-on demonstrations

when DBI/SALA’s mobile demonstration vehicles show drop-tests

and force measuring instruments to demonstrate arresting forces

workers would experience during a fall.

Get Registered Today! 

I have frequently been asked about ANSI and ANSI standards.  New people in safety want to know what is ANSI, and experienced safety people ask about certain standards and where can they get the standard. 

ANSI is the American National Standards Institute.  The Institute oversees the creation, promulgation and use of thousands of norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses in nearly every sector: from acoustical devices to construction equipment, from dairy and livestock production to energy distribution, and many more. ANSI is also actively engaged in accrediting programs that assess conformance to standards – including globally-recognized cross-sector programs such as the ISO 9000 (quality) and ISO 14000 (environmental) management systems.

ASSE will often partner with ANSI to help develop safety standards such as ANSI/ASSE Z359, Fall Protection Code.  Organizations such as ANSI, ASSE, and other for-profit companies sell ANSI standards.  So now you know what ANSI is and where to find any standard you are looking for.  Have a safe day!


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