Fall hazard control observed on residential construction sites

Am J Ind Med. 2009 Jun;52(6):491-9. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20698.


Background: Falls are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the construction industry. This study measured fall hazards at residential construction sites.

Methods: Trained carpenters administered the St. Louis Audit of Fall Risks and interviewed carpenters. The prevalence of fall prevention practices meeting safety criteria was counted and correlations explored.

Results: We identified a high prevalence of fall hazards at the 197 residential sites audited. Roof sheathing met safety criteria most consistently (81%) and truss setting least consistently (28%). Use of personal fall arrest and monitoring of unguarded floor openings were rare. Safer performance on several scales was correlated. Construction sites of large-sized contractors were generally safer than smaller contractors. Apprentice carpenters were less familiar with their employers' fall prevention plan than experienced workers.

Conclusions: Safety could be improved with consistent use of recognized fall prevention practices at residential construction sites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / statistics & numerical data*
  • Accidental Falls / mortality
  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents, Occupational / mortality
  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Facility Design and Construction*
  • Female
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Missouri
  • Risk Assessment
  • Safety