"Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry."
According to the last data available (2013), there were 796 total fatalities in the construction industry. Let's round that off to 800, for the ease of digesting the numbers. Out of that number of fatalities, 294 were fall fatalities. Let's round that to 300 (again for ease of use in digestion of the numbers). So that gives us 300 fall fatalities out of 800 fatalities (within the construction industry), which means 3 out of every 8 deaths were from falls! Not only is that unfortunate due to it meaning 37% of the deaths in the construction industry are from falls alone, but also because those deaths are preventable. Yes, one could argue that ALL falls and fall injuries (including deaths) are preventable!
OSHA has provided us three simple steps to preventing more falls, fall injuries, and fall fatalities, you may have heard them before:
"PLAN ahead to get the job done safely."
Working from heights, such as ladders, scaffolds, and roofs, can be done safely. It is important for employers to plan ahead by deciding how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment is needed to complete the job or task. Include safety equipment when estimating the cost of a job any be sure to have any other necessary equipment or tools available at the job site.
OSHA Example: "In a roofing job, think about all of the different fall hazards, such as holes or skylights and leading edges, then plan and select fall protection suitable to that work, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS)."
"PROVIDE the right equipment."
To protect workers who are six feet or more above lower levels and are at risk for serious injury or death if they fell, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job. This includes the correct choice of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear; and note that there are different individual types of ladders, gear, etc. that are to be used for certain situations or jobs. Always provide workers with the kind they need to get the job done safely.
OSHA Example: "For roof work, there are many ways to prevent falls. If workers use personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), provide a harness for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor. Make sure the PFAS fits, and regularly inspect all fall protection equipment to ensure it's still in good condition and safe to use."
"TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely."
Training workers on how to recognize hazards, care for and safely use ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems (and any other equipment necessary for the job) can prevent falls.
OSHA Example: "When you know your rights, and when employers act responsibly to prevent hazards, the result will be fewer worker deaths, injuries and illnesses. Training and education are key in making this happen."
To Prevent Employees from Being Injured from Falls, Employers Must:
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.
Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat or acid or a conveyor belt) 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 from roofs can be prevented!
Falls from ladders can be prevented!
Falls from scaffolds can be prevented!
Getting to a 'Competent Person Status' is easy! STS has both a fall protection awareness level and a competent person level training course available!
The duties and responsibilities of the competent person for fall protection include:
- Immediate supervision, implementation and monitoring of the fall protection program.
- Preparation and implementation of:
- Fall protection and prevention plans
- Fall arrest rescue plans and procedures
- Identify hazardous and dangerous conditions in the workplace and take prompt corrective measures to correct them.
- Conduct fall hazard survey and prepare survey and assessment report.
- Inspection and installation of approved fall protection systems.
- Compliance with fall protection and prevention plans and fall arrest rescue plans.
- Ensure end users/authorized persons working at heights and using fall protection equipment are adequately trained.
- Supervise the selection, installation, and inspection of non-certified anchorages.
- Supervise the installation, use, and inspection of certified anchorages, under the direction of the qualified person for fall protection.
- Have knowledge and understanding of fall protection systems and equipment.
- Conduct inspection and accident investigations.
- Have full responsibility and authority to implement the fall protection.
Click below for more information on Fall Protection Training. We offer this training at our facility or yours! Don't wait until "something happens," get appropriate safety training today!