One sunny June morning in 2009, Hector* went to work just as he had every other morning. He climbed to the roof as usual to begin working. But this day was different. In an instant, Hector was hanging over the outside edge of the second story wall of the home the residential construction company he worked for was building.
While working on the top plate of the two-story home, Hector had lost his balance. As he stumbled, he had tried to regain his footing by stepping on a pressure block, but the block blew out and he had fallen.
Fortunately, because Hector was using fall protection he is not among the thousands of workers we remember this year on Workers’ Memorial Day, April 28, 2012. He fell only inches, not two stories. He was pulled back up onto the roof by a coworker, treated with first aid for a minor cut on his leg, and returned to work.
In an effort to create more successful outcomes like Hector’s, this Workers’ Memorial Day NIOSH and its partners are announcing a new campaign to prevent falls in the construction industry. Falls are the top cause of death in construction and account for one-third of all on-the-job deaths in the industry. Each year in the U.S. over 200 construction workers are killed and over 10,000 are seriously injured by falls.