A few weeks ago, we talked about preventing falls around an office. This week we look at falls on a construction job site since that is our industry. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of worker deaths in the construction industry. Falls is considered one of construction’s "Fatal Four” which also includes "struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between.” In 2016, falls accounted for 38.7% of deaths in the construction industry. And according to OSHA, eliminating the "Fatal Four” could "save 631 workers’ lives in America every year.”
Most falls are preventable if proper safety measures are in place and workers practice safety policies. Falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs are common situations and safety goes a long way in protecting everyone on the job site. OSHA has created a fall prevention campaign that focuses on planning ahead, providing equipment, and training everyone.
Plan ahead to get the job done safely
When working from heights, employers must plan projects to ensure that the job is done safely. Begin by deciding how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment may be needed to complete each task.
When estimating the cost of a job, employers should include safety equipment, and plan to have all the necessary equipment and tools available at the construction site. For 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
Workers who are six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To protect these workers, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
Use the right ladder or scaffold to get the job done safely. For roof work, 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 it for safe use.
Train everyone to use the equipment safely
Every worker should be trained on proper set-up and safe use of equipment they use on the job. Employers must train workers in recognizing hazards on the job.
Planning a job with safety precautions in mind, providing proper equipment and resources to workers, and training everyone on safety procedures are good steps for any project. At home, in the office, and on the job site, a little extra time to practice safety is always worth it. Next time you are working on raised surface, thinking about how to safely carry out the job and what hazards may be present. Remember: One Team. One Vision. One Goal. – Everyone Goes Home Safe!