Contractors Fall prevention Construction Construction

Falls in construction: CPWR survey seeks worker observations

Photo: Willowpix/iStockphoto

UPDATE: The survey is now available to complete.

Silver Spring, MD — How can employer interventions be improved to help prevent fatal falls to a lower level among construction workers? CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, in conjunction with the American National Standards Institute Z359 Committee, has developed a survey to collect observations from workers who have witnessed or experienced a fall.

CPWR and the committee, which oversees the ANSI/ASSP Z359 standard for fall protection, are looking to “collect detailed information on past fall incidents and their root causes” as well as “fill gaps in knowledge” left by traditional data such as that from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the survey index webpage states.

“This isn’t the first time that CPWR has done a survey, but this is the first time that we’ve done one relative to working at heights, and so we’re excited about what information we’re going to get,” Thomas Kramer, president of the International Society for Fall Protection and chair of the ANSI Z359 Committee, said during a Dec. 15 webinar hosted by CPWR. “But we also realize that this is just the first step, and there’s going to be continuous efforts to improve this process and try to get richer data.”

The anonymous survey is estimated to take 15-20 minutes to complete. Respondents can do so more than once if they have insight related to multiple, separate incidents involving workplace falls.

Numerous survey questions pertain to the task taking place when the fall occurred, as well as the cause of the fall and any consequences. These include:

  • What task were you/the individual doing at the time of the fall?
  • What type of fall protection, if any, was being used at the time of the fall?
  • What, in your opinion or the opinion of the investigation performed of the fall incident, were the primary cause(s) of the fall?
  • What level of planning was done by the employer and/or a competent person?
  • What, if any, consequences did the employer experience as a result of the fall incident?

Kramer said one of the goals is to augment current data by gathering more in-depth information about incidents and interventions to better protect workers at height.


“We can understand what happened, and we can try to prevent it from happening again,” Kramer said.

During the webinar, Kramer said organizers intended to release the survey in January and keep it active through March. At press time, it was not yet available online.

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