In this week's guest blog from F. Marie Athey (OHST) of OSHAcampus.com, the rise in fall hazards is discussed along with tips on how to reduce them. And don't miss our own take on this issue at OSHAcampus.com.
by F Marie Athey
For several years now, falls have been the leading cause of work-related injuries and deaths in construction. In 2010, there were 264 fall fatalities recorded by OSHA. Work places must prevent employees from falling off their work stations or in any elevated place.
OSHA states that lives can be saved and injuries lessened when employers follow these steps:
There’s a saying that goes “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” Employers must plan their projects when working from heights. This makes certain that the job is done safely from heights such as ladders, roofs and scaffolds.
Decide on the flow of the job, the tasks involved and the safety equipment needed on each task.
OSHA standards say that workers who are at six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. Employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
OSHA has the following requirements and tips to prevent falls:
- Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.
- Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition.
- Select and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
- Train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand.
- Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).
- Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
- Employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
- Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety and harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.
Falls can be prevented with training. An example of which is roof work. Fall arrest training is implemented for workers using personal fall arrest systems (PFAS). OSHA states to make sure the PFAS fits, and regularly inspect all fall protection equipment to ensure it's still in good condition and safe to use. This could not be done without the proper training of employees.
Understanding proper set-up and safe use of equipment is needed to complete the job. Employees working on heights should have OSHA training online for hazard recognition and care and safe use of equipment.
Plan, provide and train are three words to always take into consideration. With these, employers can reduce falls in the work place and employees will feel safe to do their jobs.