Job Site Safety: Fatal Falls At Their Highest Level in 26 Years


No one will deny a job in construction is hard work. The days are long, the conditions demanding, the loads heavy. There is no getting around the physical stress of the profession. What it should not be is dangerous. Yet far too many construction professionals are getting injured, or worse, on the job.

According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction accounted for 19 percent of all worker deaths in 2017, with roofers ranking fourth among all occupations with a death rate of 45.2 per 100,000 full time workers.

Top among concerns are fatal falls. In 2017 they reached their highest level in the 26-year history of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, accounting for 17 percent of worker deaths.

Safety is a top priority at CertainTeed. So, in honor of National Safety Month we are sharing some of the safety information from our nationally recognized credentialing programs to help you refresh your knowledge and stay at the top of your game.

Job Site Safety Quiz

How good are your safety credentials? Test your knowledge and stay safe out there.

construction job site safety power tools

Tool Safety

Question 1: When working with power tools you should always: (Select all that apply.)

A. Protect all temporary power with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).

B. Wear proper eye-protection at all times.

C. Remove blade guards to speed up the job.

D. Check regularly for defects.

Answer: All but C. According to a 2016 survey on table saw guard usage commissioned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 60 percent of respondents reported operating a table saw at least sometimes without the blade guard in place.

Question 2: To guard against electrical shock when working with power tools, you should:

A. Use double insulated tools

B. Protect all temporary power with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI)

C. Plug into GFCI-protected generators

D. Use GFCI extension cords

E. All of the above

F. Any of the above

Answer: F. There are a variety of ways to ground your electrical current, just make sure you use one of them.

construction job site safety

Ladder and Scaffolding Safety

Question 3: Where should the top of the ladder be located in relation to the landing?

A. It should be one to two feet below the landing so as not to interfere with the work space.

B. It should be flush to the landing to provide for an easy exit.

C. It should extend three feet above the landing to give you something to hold onto when stepping off.

D. The placement of the top of the ladder does not matter as long as the base is secure.

Answer: C. Extend ladders three feet above the landing to provide a handhold for balance when getting on or off the ladder from other surfaces.

Question 4: How far away should ladders be in relation to overhead electrical lines?

A. 3 feet

B. 5 feet

C. 10 feet

D. 25 feet

Answer: C. Step one, locate and identify any overhead electrical lines. Once identified, make sure ladders and scaffolds never come within 10 feet of electrical power lines.

Question 5: How many workers can safely work on pump jack scaffolding at a time?

A. One worker up to 250 lbs.

B. Two workers up to 500 lbs.

C. Three workers up to 750 lbs.

D. The whole crew. Scaffolding can hold up to 1500 lbs.

Answer: B. No more than two workers (500 pounds) can work on pump jack scaffolding at a time. When working on scaffolding, or in any elevated situation, always use safety harnesses to prevent falls.

construction job site safety

Safety Equipment

Question 6: You are preparing to install trim or roofing in an active construction site. You will need the following safety equipment: (Select all that apply.)

A. Hard hat

B. Safety glasses or mask

C. Sturdy shoes or boots

D. Heavy duty rubber gloves

Answer: All but D. While you need hand protection, like heavy duty rubber gloves, for concrete work or electrical, it is not required for roofing or siding installation. However, head protection, eye protection and foot protection are all needed to ensure a safe work day.

Question 7: When installing fiberglass insulation, appropriate eye protection includes:

A. Safety goggles

B. Safety glasses

C. Face shield

D. Any of the above

E. None of the above

Answer: D. Any of the above. Choose the type that best suits you, just make you choose one of the above.

Question 8: When selecting a dust respirator, look for one that is approved by:


B. The NFL


D. The NIH

Answer: A. Use a NIOSH/MSHA-approved respirator, such as a 3M model #8710 or #9900 or equivalent. An appropriate training and fit testing program must also be incorporated into a respiratory protection program.

construction job site safety families occupants

The Safety of Others

Question 9: When working on a remodeling job, you are responsible not only for ensuring your own safety but also that of the people living or working in the area you are renovating. To ensure their safety you must: (Select all that apply.)

A. Keep all walkways and stairways clear of trash and debris.

B. Use and store tools and supplies away from walkways and doors.

C. Scrap lumber, boxes, and other discarded material are tripping hazards. Throw them into a trash receptacle or recycling container.

D. Exercise care around shrubs and flower beds. Some minor damage to the landscaping is unavoidable, but be prepared to replace shrubs that are accidentally crushed or broken.

Answer: All but D. While protection of landscaping or other non-job-site related areas is important, especially to the reputation of your company, it is not necessarily a safety issue.

Construction sites are loud, active, collaborative, and at times chaotic places. With so much going on, it is important that everyone adheres to the safety rules.

Plus, which construction jobs are safe from AI and tips for building your business using social media.

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