Preventing Falls

Source: osha.gov

According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of death in construction. The good news? Falls are completely preventable in three easy steps: 1) PLAN ahead to get the job done safely, 2) PROVIDE the right equipment, and 3) TRAIN everyone to use the equipment.

1. PLAN ahead to get the job done safely. When working from heights, such as ladders, scaffolds, and roofs, you 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, you 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).

2. 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, you must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.

Different ladders and scaffolds are appropriate for different jobs. Always provide workers with the kind they need to get the job done safely. 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.

3. TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely. Falls can be prevented when workers understand proper set-up and safe use of equipment, so they need training on the specific equipment they will use to complete the job. You must train workers in hazard recognition and in the care and safe use of ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems, and other equipment they'll be using on the job.

We encourage you to take advantage of OSHA’s plentiful materials and resources – you can use these materials during “toolbox talks” to train workers on safe practices to avoid falls in construction.

In the meantime, remember the three keys - PLAN, PROVIDE, and TRAIN! For more information, please contact us.

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