Preventing falls in residential construction

Many Texas construction workers are seriously injured while they are framing and erecting walls. The risk is especially great when the building being constructed is one with multiple stories. The federal government provides laws that require the use of certain types of fall protection when workers are building walls.


According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, every company that will have workers building walls must have a safety training program in place. OSHA also states that employers should assess each project for areas of fall risk and then have fall protection systems ready and in place before workers arrive.


The fall protection requirements are mandated when a worker will be working at any height greater than six feet above the lower level. Suggested types of fall protection include guardrails, scaffolding, anchors and personal fall arrest systems. Guardrails may be especially important around floor and wall openings, such as windows, to help prevent workers from falling through them. Care should be taken at all stages, including planning, wall assembly and lifting walls into place. Using a forklift or other lifting device can help lessen the likelihood of a worker’s falling when lifting a wall segment to its place.


Construction workplace accidents may be especially catastrophic, sometimes leaving workers with life-altering disabilities. It is important that employers assess each project for risks and implement appropriate safety training and equipment. Workers should also be aware of the risks at their job sites while they are working. They should always use the safety equipment that is provided and avoid taking shortcuts. Regardless of precautions, however, accidents continue to happen. A construction worker who is injured while working on this type of job may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits through the employer’s insurance carrier. The insurance is available to provide coverage to those who are victims of workplace accidents. Injured workers may want to obtain the advice of a workers’ compensation attorney for assistance with the filing process.


Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Reducing Falls during Residential Construction: Erecting Exterior and Interior Walls”, accessed on March 24, 2015

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