Seven Tips for Construction Fall Prevention

Posted on 19 January 2017 by CRadmin3

MCSP1881Topping the list of the “Fatal Four” causes of workplace fatalities in the construction industry is falls. In 2014, falls accounted for 359 of the 899 total construction deaths, which is nearly 40 percent. In addition, fall protection topped the list of standards violations in 2015.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has led various campaigns over the years aimed at reducing fall-related deaths through education and training, and the Oregon chapter of OSHA recently renewed its commitment with the publication of seven tips for preventing falls on construction sites in its bi-monthly magazine Health and Safety Resource.

  1. Give fall protection the attention it deserves in your safety program. Everyone in the company should be playing an active role in preventing falls. Managers need to be committed, and employees have to be involved.
  1. Establish and enforce rules for safe practices. Supervisors should be able to motivate employees and discipline those who do not follow the rules. Following are some of the top tasks of supervisors when it comes to safety:
  • Ensure that employees have been properly trained and know how to perform their work safely.
  • Periodically review the safety performance of each individual on the team.
  • Employees who do not follow the rules need to be instructed, retrained or disciplined.
  • New employees should be supervised closely until they have been adequately trained.
  • Ask all employees to demonstrate that they can carry out their duties safely before allowing them to work unsupervised.
  1. Create a safety policy. Every company that fabricates, installs or otherwise works with countertops must have a written safety policy, and this is required by law in many states. Having a written policy in place shows employees, venders and customers that you are committed to keeping a safe workplace.
  1. Designate responsibilities to the most competent and qualified. The most qualified person supervises the design and use of fall restraints, arrest anchors and lifeline systems while the most competent does the following:
  • Recognizes hazards and warns workers
  • Trains others to recognize hazards and follow procedures
  • Monitors workers when necessary for fall protection
  • Determines when safety nets are required
  • Inspects equipment for fall prevention
  1. Plan for falls. Ask all of the following questions to help prevent falls:
  • Where are the most likely fall hazards?
  • How are employees exposed to fall hazards?
  • Are surfaces structurally sound?
  • Are guardrails and covers meet requirements?
  • Have employees been trained in ladder use?
  • Do anchors and restraint systems meet compliance rules?
  • Will anyone be exposed to falls after the workday is done?
  1. Train employees on fall prevention. Never assume that workers know how to keep themselves from falling, especially at a new job site. Employees must be retrained when they are given new tasks and moved to new worksites. All training must be documented in writing, and they must certify that they understand the fall-protection systems and methods to use in various situations.
  1. Always use equipment for fall prevention. Equipment that can reduce or eliminate the risk of falls should be used whenever possible. This equipment includes hole covers, guardrails, anchors and restraint systems. When fall hazards cannot be completely eliminated, use equipment that reduces the risk of injuries should falls occur, such as safety nets and fall-arrest systems.

For further information and to download workplace posters on falling hazards, visit OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign page or call your local health and safety authority.

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