The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has joined the Steel Erectors Association of Metropolitan Philadelphia and Vicinity Inc. and the Iron Workers Local Union 401 in a program to promote workplace safety and health and provide training, with a particular focus on fall prevention.

On Dec. 28, ironworker Drew Mecutchen, 44, of Levittown, fell five stories to his death while doing construction at Temple University's new medical building in North Philadelphia.

After transportation accidents, falls to a lower level are the second most common cause of workplace deaths nationally, according to a recent OSHA report. Nationally, 13 percent of workers, or 733, died in such falls last year. In the Philadelphia area, 15 percent of the region's 93 workplace deaths in 2007 were caused by falls.

The labor-funded Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health has a separate construction-safety fall-prevention project targeted at smaller contractors.

Contact staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen at 215-584-2769 or