Background: Falls are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the construction industry. This study measured fall hazards at residential construction sites. Methods: Trained carpenters administered the St. Louis Audit of Fall Risks and interviewed carpenters. The prevalence of fall prevention practices meeting safety criteria was counted and correlations explored. Results: We identified a high prevalence of fall hazards at the 197 residential sites audited. Roof sheathing met safety criteria most consistently (81%) and truss setting least consistently (28%). Use of personal fall arrest and monitoring of unguarded floor openings were rare. Safer performance on several scales was correlated. Construction sites of large-sized contractors were generally safer than smaller contractors. Apprentice carpenters were less familiar with their employers' fall prevention plan than experienced workers. Conclusions: Safety could be improved with consistent use of recognized fall prevention practices at residential construction sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-499
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Carpenters
  • Compliance
  • Construction
  • Fall prevention
  • Injury prevention
  • Residential construction


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