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Preventing Injuries from Falling is as Easy as 1-2-3

- May 7, 2018 by Chris Calleri, CSP (View all posts by Chris)

Falling from heights continues to be the number one killer of construction workers, with 370 deaths in 2016 (BLS data).  Each one of these fatal injuries were preventable if three simple steps were followed:

1. Plan for the job

2. Supply the employee with the right equipment

3. Train all the employees to use the equipment correctly

Planning for the Job of Working at Height

Any worker who is going height six feet or above a lower level is putting themselves at risk of falling and the employer is required to plan accordingly to ensure the task is done safety.  This should start by determining how the work is going to be done, what specific task are to be performed and the proper equipment that is needed to do the job safety.  Employers when estimating the bid of a job they need to include all the necessary safety equipment as well. The equipment need to be readily available at the job site just like any other tool needed for the job.

A common scenario for construction companies is roofing. There are many hazards associated with roofing a building including holes, skylights and leading edges. The employers fall prevention plan should address all these hazards and have the proper equipment in place like a personal fall arrest system (PFAS).

Supply the employee with the Right Equipment

As stated earlier construction workers who work more than six feet above a lower level are at great risk for death or serious injury from falling.  In these situations, the employer is required to provide the appropriate safety equipment to protect to worker.  This includes: proper ladders, scaffolds or PFASs.

If it is determined that PFASs are the right equipment for the task at hand then the employer shall ensure that the worker receives a harness, lanyard or self-retracting lifeline and a proper tie off point or anchor.  All this safety gear must fit the user properly and be regularly inspected before each use.

Train All Employees to Use the Equipment Correctly

Employers are required to train each employee who will use any piece of fall protection equipment.  This training shall cover the safe use of the equipment, how to don and doff the gear and properly set up the equipment. Employers must also train workers to recognize the hazards associated with working at heights.

 

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