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Slip, Trip and Fall Hazards Common on Construction Sites

Workers must be able to recognize the common trip and fall hazards that can be found during construction and all workers have the right to be protected from fall hazards.

Construction Worker Falling Off Ladder

Trip and fall hazards are present in any construction project, including

  • outdoor construction sites
  • corporate and residential renovations
  • demolition
  • work zones
OSHA Standard 1926.503(a)(1) The employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.
Tripping Hazard Warning Sign at Construction Site
  • Maintain general site housekeeping and ensure materials, equipment, tools and extension cords do not create trip and fall hazards.
  • Do not store any items that can become trip hazards in walkways, aisles, or hallways.
  • For trip and fall hazards that can’t be immediately resolved, ensure there are adequate barricades and warning signs in place.
OSHA Standard 1926.25(a) During the course of construction, alteration, or repairs, form and scrap lumber with protruding nails, and all other debris, shall be kept cleared from work areas, passageways, and stairs, in and around buildings or other structures.
Worker Fell, Legs Twisted in Extension Cord

Floor holes are one of the most common trip and fall hazards found in construction areas.

OSHA defines a hole as a gap or void 2 inches (5.1 cm) or more in its least dimension, in a floor, roof, or other walking/working surface.

OSHA Standard 1926.501(b)(4)(ii) Each employee on a walking/working surface shall be protected from tripping in or stepping into or through holes (including skylights) by covers.
  • The holes must be guarded or protected by guardrails, covers, and other conventional fall protection methods.
  • Walking and working areas, including rooftops, should be inspected for potential floor holes, as well as skylights, to prevent falls.
  • When floor holes must remain at the site for any period of time, they can be covered with durable material and marked with “cover” or “hole” to warn workers of the hazard.
  • Roof drains, cut-outs for ventilation, core-drilled holes and other floor penetrations should be covered or protected to avoid trip hazards.
Foot Tripping in Floor Hole

Workers must recognize possible fall hazards when working at heights above 6 feet from a lower level.

Never stand on the mid or top rail of the guardrail system on an elevated platform. Keep both feet firmly planted on the basket floor.

Never lean out over the top rail of the elevated platform.

OSHA Standard 1926.453(b)(2)(iv) Employees shall always stand firmly on the floor of the basket, and shall not sit or climb on the edge of the basket or use planks, ladders, or other devices for a work position.

Workers on elevated platforms such as aerial or boom lifts shall ensure personal fall arrest system is always worn.

Always inspect fall arrest equipment before use each time.

Before operating any aerial lift, conduct a pre-use inspection of the work area looking for any issues that could cause a tip-over hazard like unstable or uneven ground, inclines, floor holes or clutter.

Worker Walking up Fixed Stairs
  • Stairways with four or more risers must be equipped with at least one handrail.
  • Always use handrails if equipped and maintain three points of contact to prevent falls.
  • Ensure ladders or portable working platforms are on sturdy ground.
  • Always face a ladder while ascending or descending.
OSHA Standard 1926.1052(c)(1)(i) Stairways having four or more risers or rising more than 30 inches (76 cm), whichever is less, shall be equipped with at least one handrail.
  • If equipped with wheels, ensure mechanism is locked into place.
  • Never carry items in your hands while ascending or descending a ladder.
  • Add temporary stair rails to stairways that are still under construction to ensure construction workers, and other visitors to the construction site, can climb the stairs safely, if needed.
  • Properly barricade or remove from service any ladders, stairways or climbing structures that are not yet completed or not safe to use.
Architect Walking up Stairs, No Guardrail

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