The Fall That Changed Everything

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from

A Clark Construction worker models a properly-fitted safety harness at a 2015 stand down in the District of Columbia.

As a longtime field investigator for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, I’ve seen the aftermath of tragedies caused by falls. Each case is painful, but a few stand out for their heartbreak.

Last year, my team and I were called in to a Pennsylvania construction site where three-story apartments were going up. The fall had been captured on closed circuit video: A 27-year-old worker was being lifted onto the roof by the long arm of a rough terrain forklift when the wobbly platform he stood upon suddenly tipped over, throwing him 40 feet to the ground.

It was his first day on the job.

The fall caused spinal injuries so severe it’s likely he will never walk again. Even now, a year later, he needs help holding a cup of water.

His story hit our team hard because he is so young, and his injuries could have been prevented so easily. We couldn’t help but think, “What will his future be like? What if he was a member of my family?”

Even worse, his story is just one of thousands. Falls are completely preventable with proper training and equipment, yet they are still the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. In 2014 alone, 647 workers were killed from falls in the United States and many more were injured.

Our work inspires us to do everything possible to prevent falls. One way we bring attention to fall hazards…

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