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NIOSH: Prevention through Design can help stop construction falls


Washington – A fall prevention guide recently released by NIOSH aims to help building owners and designers build more safety features into their facilities rather than relying on back-end controls.

The guide provides statistics on worker falls in the United States along with a list of OSHA standards, design solutions, evidence of cost savings, a case study and additional safety tips. Many of the recommendations align with Prevention through Design – a concept that calls for establishing safety features such as limiting potential fall hazards – early in the life cycle of a facility.

The message in the guide is important because falls remain a significant cause of worker injury and death, NIOSH stated. Of the 4,693 worker fatalities in 2011, 553 (12 percent) were the result of falls to a lower level, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, falls in construction accounted for 46 percent of all work-related fatal falls.