Why don't construction workers always have fall protection gear?

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Monday, Oct 23, 2023

Falls are one of the leading causes of injury and death in the construction industry. Advanced fall protection gear does exist, but many workers don’t use it. Considering what’s at stake, why don’t they?

There are numerous reasons. Some go back to the employees themselves, who talk about the gear being too hot, heavy or uncomfortable on the job. They may have started out using it and then stopped as time went by and they grew both annoyed with the gear and confident that they wouldn’t fall.

Some workers also say that it gets in their way, making them less productive. This issue could be traced back to the employer. Does the company encourage workers not to use the gear? Are unrealistic production goals set to force them not to use it, even without telling them to take it off?

Experts note that many employees simply don’t get the right training. The gear may be comfortable and may not slow them down when used properly, but an employee with no training doesn’t know how to do it correctly. The issues they’re having don’t stem from the gear itself, but from this lack of training.

Employees who aren’t trained may also feel that the gear is unimportant, especially if regulations are never enforced. Again, this may go back to a potentially toxic company culture where safety is ignored in the name of production and an accident is just waiting to happen.

Workers who are not given fall protection gear, told not to use it, pressured to break the regulations or never trained in how to use the gear have a very high injury risk. Those who are hurt must be sure they know their legal rights.

Source: OHS, “Workers Not Always Using Their Fall Protection Equipment?," Tim Thompson, accessed Sep. 15, 2017

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