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Falls From Elevation in General Industry—Are Your Employees Protected?

- November 24, 2015 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

Falls from elevation continue to be one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities, second only to motor vehicle crashes. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • 647 deaths in 2014 were the result of a fall to a lower level—a 9% increase from 2013
  • 47,120 injuries from falls resulted in time away from work
  • Median number of days missed as a result of a fall was 20 days

It’s common to presume that most falls from elevation come from the construction industry. After all, these employees work from roofs, scaffolding, boom-lifts, scissor-lifts and ladders. However, many industries or worksites are at risk of exposing employees to falls from elevation.

If your team members ever perform work where their feet are off of the ground, you should have safeguards in place to protect them.  The General Industry has a simple rule to follow:

If an employee is working on a surface where they can be exposed to a fall greater than four feet, or there is a risk of falling into a dangerous machine or equipment, then fall protection is required.

An easy way to find fall hazards at your facility is to get a measuring stick that is four feet long and take a walk. Hold it against unprotected loading docks, work platforms, catwalks and any other questionable elevated worksites and see how these locations measure up.

In my next post on this topic, I’ll review safety tips you can easily implement that will help prevent falls and enhance your overall culture of safety.

For more information, visit OSHA’s webpage on Fall Protection in General Industry and OSHA Walking Working Surfaces standard. Keep in mind that OSHA standards are considered the minimum; you can always do more to protect employees!