The Associated General Contractors of America will launch a new fall protection safety training program next year, thanks to a new federal safety grant the association is being awarded. The association will use the $130,000 Susan Harwood Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to tackle one of the most pressing safety issues in construction, officials said.
"The new training program will help us continue to make construction safer for millions of workers," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. "This is another sign of the commitment our association and our members have to improving construction safety."
Sandherr said that while the overall number of construction fatalities has declined by nearly 50 percent over the past five years, fall-related fatalities remain the single largest cause of construction deaths, Sandherr said. He noted that fatalities from falls accounted for 260 out of the 751 construction fatalities reported in 2010, or nearly 35 percent of the total.
The association head noted that the safety program would provide comprehensive information about fall protection for both commercial and residential construction. He added that the association would offer the safety program in eight different sites during 2012 and expected to instruct as many as 500 construction workers during the year.
Sandherr added that, in addition to the new fall protection program, the association already offers a host of safety programs and materials that construction firms are taking advantage of. These include in-seat safety training programs and making educational materials available to construction firms.
"Any chance we get to improve safety for construction workers we are going to take," Sandherr said. "After all, the construction industry is only as strong as its workers are safe."