Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Safety Standards for Stairways and Ladders Used in the Construction Industry
• Section: 2
• Title: Section 2 - II. Hazards Involved

II. Hazards Involved

Fall accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities continue to occur at construction sites despite the promulgation of the OSHA Construction Standards in 1971. Examination of available data indicates that these accidents are primarily the result of noncompliance with existing OSHA standards, and that the current standards, in general, properly address the stairway and ladder hazards confronted by construction workers. Nevertheless, upon reviewing compliance problems and public comments received since 1972, OSHA believes that the regulations addressing stairways and ladders need to be updated, reformatted, and clarified to provide employers with appropriate guidance and to make the standards easier to use and understand. OSHA believes that revision of these provisions will significantly increase employer compliance.

Precise accident data for the entire construction industry are not available. However, based upon the 1987 BLS data that have been compiled, OSHA estimates that the annual number of injuries associated with falls from surfaces covered under subpart X is about 24,882.

Although specific accident ratios cannot be projected for the 4.5 million construction workers potentially covered by subpart X, OSHA prepared the following statistical estimates to support proposed subpart X.

- On a yearly basis, OSHA estimated that as many as four fatalities, 5,360 impact injuries, and 1,900 sprain or strain injuries occur on stairways used in construction (summary of Bureau of Labor Statistics data Exs. 3-15 and 3-16); and

- 65 percent of those injured in stairway accidents require medical treatment  (Ex. 3-3, p. 150).

In a Bureau of Labor Statistics study of 1,400 ladder accidents that resulted in injuries (Ex. 3-5), the following findings were made:

- 23 percent of the accidents were in construction;

- 42 percent of those injured were working on the ladder when the accident occurred;

- 66 percent of those injured had not been trained in how to inspect ladders for d