Falls are the leading cause of workplace deaths — but they don’t have to be. OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign lays out three simple steps that you and your workers can use to save lives and prevent injuries.
Those three steps are: better planning, providing and using the right equipment, and better training on fall prevention.
Step One: Plan Ahead for Safety
As early as the bidding stage you should assess fall hazards for each stage of the project, then designate and purchase the correct safety equipment to prevent falls. Be sure to include the appropriate labor time for proper setup of scaffolding and other fall prevention systems, as well as use of personal fall arrest systems, in estimates for the project.
Step Two: Provide Proper Safety Equipment
Having the proper safety equipment is a critical part of any fall prevention program. Make sure ladders, scaffolding, harnesses and all other gear are in good repair, properly used, and have been fully tracked in their use and maintenance per OSHA safety standards. When necessary, make personal fall arrest systems and harnesses available on the job site for each worker.
Step Three: Train Workers on Safety Best Practices
Even with proper planning and all the right safety equipment, falls still happen. When they do, it is usually due to a lack of training or a failure to follow the best practices that workers have been taught. Strong, ongoing safety training is the only way to keep this from happening.
This means all workers should be trained to recognize fall hazards and to take the steps necessary to remedy unsafe conditions. Workers also need to be trained in proper use of their safety equipment, with periodic refreshers to make sure these skills stay fresh in their minds.
Raising Awareness Among Your Workers of OSHA Fall Prevention
OSHA’s National Fall Prevention Stand Down, from May 2 to 6, 2016, is the perfect opportunity to increase your workers’ awareness of fall hazards and how to prevent them. Anybody can participate in the Stand Down; 2015’s 2.5 million participants included commercial and highway construction companies, contractors and subcontractors, the military, utility companies, unions and safety equipment manufacturers.
These voluntary events are the perfect opportunity for you to speak directly to your employees about how to avoid entirely preventable deaths and injuries that happen as a result of falls. OSHA offers a wealth of downloadable resources to help you educate your employees about fall prevention at any time. For the Fall Prevention Stand Down, they’re also offering a list of frequently asked questions and suggestions to help you conduct a successful Stand Down event, plus a calendar of free safety events that are open to the public.