Six Fatal Falls Prompt Alert in Tennessee


Tennessee's labor department has a special emphasis program devoted to fall safety, but six workers in the state died in fatal falls during the first five months of 2007. Commissioner James Neeley is urging employers and workers to review fall protection training and prevent further casualties.

One of the victims fell from a platform while changing a message sign; another fell while replacing ceiling tiles. Another fell through a skylight, and a fourth fell down an elevator shaft. The fifth fell from a roof, and the sixth fell from the third floor of a construction site, TOSHA said. Whenever ROSH staffers see employees exposed to fall hazards, they are empowered to stop and conduct an investigation, Neeley said.

In all of 2006, seven Tennessee workers died in fatal falls. The same number died in 2005, there was six in 2004, and 11 in 2003. TOSHA reminds employees and workers to identify fall hazards; install protective systems such as guardrails; provide PPE for work above 4 feet (general industry) and 6 feet (construction); and utilize controlled access areas, nets, and employee training.

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