West Virginia University Extension Service faculty will train hundreds of residential construction workers and supervisorsin five states and the District of Columbiato prevent fatal falls from roofs, ladders and scaffolding.

The Safety and Health Extension Service project is a result of a $117,000 Occupational Safety and Health Administration grant. Faculty members will host 25 four-hour sessions that will include a hands-on activity using a new portable training unit. The unit will provide roofing and scaffolding simulations.

The free training courses will take place in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. Companies can also request private training sessions by contacting WVU Safety and Health Extension Service.

Thirty-five percent of all residential construction fatalities were among the self-employed in 2003, according to Mark Fullen, WVU Safety and Health Extension program leader.

Many smaller construction businesses are run in a more casual setting where the employees are more likely to be family and friends,he said.In those situations, its easy to start thinking that a fatal fall cant happen to you. But it can.

Training participants will receive a self-guided training DVD to take back to share with co-workers who are unable to attend the training.

We want to train employees, supervisors and owners to become safety advocates on their job sites,Fullen said.

After completing the training, participants should be able to return to their workplaces and identify hazards and potential hazards in accordance with OSHA regulations.

Training will begin in early 2009.

For more information on WVU Safety and Health Extensions Residential Fall Safe program, visit http://www.residentialfallsafe.org/ .