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Howard, Michaels focus on preventing construction falls

October 24, 2012

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Orlando, FL – With the construction industry beginning to recover from the recession, NIOSH Director John Howard said now is an opportune time to look at the most serious fatality in the industry – falls.

Transportation and highway incidents are the No. 1 cause of workplace fatalities, but construction falls are second, according to Howard, who spoke during the occupational keynote presentation Oct. 23 at the 2012 NSC Congress & Expo.

Researchers and representatives from management and labor have come together under the National Occupational Research Agenda with a goal to reduce fatal and serious injuries caused by falls to a lower level, of which two-thirds in construction are from 20 feet or less and of which the vast majority occur in residential construction, Howard said.

About two years ago, OSHA changed its enforcement policy concerning residential construction fall protection to require greater measures to be taken. In his speech during the keynote, OSHA administrator David Michaels noted that the number of fatal falls in residential construction declined in 2011 from 2010, although he hesitated to attribute the decline solely to OSHA’s actions.

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