Falling in Construction – Risks and Control Measures 

Falls are the leading cause of death on construction sites globally. There are several factors which contribute to falls on construction sites.

There are several factors which contribute to falls on construction sites, including: 

  • Work at height. Construction workers often work at heights, which increases the risk of falls. 
  • Unsafe work practices. Personnel may not follow safe work practices, such as using fall protection equipment or working on unstable surfaces. 
  • Unsafe conditions. The work environment may be unsafe, such as if there are holes in the ground or slippery surfaces. 


Measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of falls on construction sites: 

  • Fall protection. Fall protection equipment, such as harnesses and lifelines, can help to prevent falls. 
  • Safe work practices. Workers should be trained on safe work practices and required to follow them. 
  • Unsafe conditions. Unsafe conditions should be identified and corrected upon discovery. 


Fall Protection 

Fall protection is one of the most effective ways to prevent falls on construction sites. Fall protection equipment, such as harnesses and lifelines, can help to prevent workers from falling and being injured. 

Types of fall protection equipment available: 

  • Harnesses: Harnesses are worn by workers and are attached to a lifeline or other anchoring device. 
  • Lifelines: Lifelines are ropes or cables that are attached to an anchoring device and then to a worker’s harness. 
  • Lanyards: Lanyards are short ropes that are attached to a worker’s harness and then to an anchoring device. 
  • Fall arrest systems: Fall arrest systems are a combination of a harness, lifeline, and lanyard that are designed to catch a worker who falls. 


Fall protection equipment should be used whenever workers are working at heights. Workers should be trained on how to use fall protection equipment and it should be mandatory to use it whenever they are working at heights. 

Safe Work Practices 

In addition to using fall protection equipment, workers should also follow safe work practices to reduce the risk of falls. Safe work practices include: 

  • Working on stable surfaces. Workers should not work on surfaces which are unstable or slippery. 
  • Avoiding distractions. Workers should not work while distracted, such as talking on the phone or texting. 
  • Using ladders and scaffolds properly. Ladders and scaffolds should be used properly and inspected regularly. 
  • Being aware of your surroundings. Workers should stay aware of their surroundings and should be careful not to trip or slip. 


Unsafe conditions should be identified and corrected to reduce the risk of falls. This may include: 

  • Holes in the ground. Holes in the ground should be filled in or covered up. 
  • Slippery surfaces. Slippery surfaces should be made safe, such as by applying sand or gravel. 
  • Debris. Debris should be removed from work areas to prevent tripping and slipping. 


Falls are a serious hazard on construction sites. By following the control measures outlined, employers and workers can help to reduce the risk of falls and keep workers safe. 

The iProtectU health and safety software provides: 

  • An inspection and Audit App which allows for safety inspection of the workplace and associated report 
  • eLearning on Working at Height 
  • Scheduling functionality for managers to send eLearning, risk assessments and documents out to all staff via the software with tracks completion and compliance 
  • Risk assessment template covering working at height 
  • Management system to document control the policy on working at height 
  • Method Statement module for the creation of work activity working instructions 
  • Legal register that provides legislation guidance on working at height 
  • Incident investigation module that tracks incidents involving falls from height, both with an app and via desktop 
  • Hazard observation app where staff can report and record any concerns regarding fall hazards to the organisation 
  • Asset management App ensuring assets are recorded in the software 

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