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This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for work injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by work injuries.

A Construction Worker Falls to His Death from a Forklift Platform in New Braunfels, Texas – Part 5

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015
Photo is a worker for A-plus Well Service in F...

Photo is a worker for A-plus Well Service in Farmington NM performing a fall rescue drill. Falls are the fifth most common event leading to an occupational fatality for oil and gas extraction workers. Wearing fall protection whenever working at height is essential to protecting workers from injury (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One reason falls are so dangerous and the leading cause of construction fatalities is the physics of falling. A body that is in free fall covers long distances in an incredibly short time; for instance, in free fall for a distance of 64 feet, a person hits the ground in just 2 seconds.


Many work-related falls occur from rooftops. Employers have a duty to provide appropriate fall protection for workers on roofs. The specifics of those requirements are provided by the Occupation Health and Safety Administration (OSHA); and the following are examples:

  • A low slope roof that is under 50 feet in width must have protection with the use of a safety monitor or fall protection systems.
  • On low slope roofs 50 feet wide or greater, fall protection systems are required or a combination of warning lines and a safety monitor, guardrails, or personal fall arrest systems (PFAS).
  • Employees also have a right to be protected from falling objects.
  • There are passive and active fall protection systems, as follows:
    • Passive systems include safety nets, covers, guardrails, barricades, and fences. Guardrails are the most common form of fall protection used, and OSHA provides specific standards for guardrails, to ensure that they effectively protect workers.
    • Active systems include lanyards, snap hooks, a body harness, and anchorage points. They are designed to operate in free fall situations and protect employees from forces that can cause injury and from falls.

Learn more about fall prevention and protection in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this five-part series.

–Guest Contributor

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