Work-related injuries are not uncommon. In 2021, a US worker died every 101 minutes from a work-related injury, according to OSHA. Of those deaths, 370 were the result of a fall, slip, or trip in a construction or extraction occupation. Falls have long been a major danger in construction—as well as in the workplace at large—and according to preliminary data, that continues to be the case in 2023.
Of the nearly 30,000 violations counted among the 10 most common OSHA violations reported in 2023, more than half cited breaches of fall-related standards (ie, fall protection, proper ladder and scaffolding use, and fall protection training), with the majority (7,271) coming as a result of inadequate or nonexistent fall protection. Those numbers might be shocking … if they weren’t so historically consistent.
In each of the five years prior to 2023, fall protection on construction sites topped the list of standards most frequently cited in OSHA violations. Violations relating to ladder and scaffolding use and safety standards have been similarly ubiquitous as have fall protection training violations—the latter of which may help explain the former.
"Fall hazard violations remain at the top of the list because the hazard is present in most construction worksites," said an OSHA representative, adding that "construction remains about 51 percent of the inspection activity that federal OSHA does during the year."
While 2023’s preliminary numbers may come as little shock, they do still serve as a big reminder to residential construction professionals to take fall safety more seriously. And despite the consistently high number of violations relating to those standards, resources for fall protection and training as well as proper ladder and scaffolding use are available in plenty.
OSHA anticipates releasing it’s official 2023 most frequently cited standards in violations in April 2024.