There are a number of different ways that businesses can protect their workers from having serious falls at the workplace. There are the conventional means of guardrails and safety net systems. There are also personal fall protection systems and the usual adoption of safe workplace practices. In addition, giving workers the proper and appropriate training can go a long way to keeping employees safe.
Depending on the facility itself, the use of warning lines, designated areas, and control zones can greatly reduce the number of accidents that might otherwise occur. OSHA fall protection guidelines and OSHA fall protection training are designed to keep workers in the workplace as safe as possible. Arranging a facility in conjunction with these standards is not only mandatory but makes sense all around.
In any situation, it is always best to start developing your safety plan for your workspace with these three OSHA fall protection guidelines in mind: plan, provide, and train. With these guidelines in mind and in place, worker injuries and illnesses have dropped a great deal in the last 40 plus years. From 1971 to 2011, worker illnesses and injuries went from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers to 3.4 incidents per 100 workers. This is due in very large part to the precautions and pre-planning that have been done.
When a company plans in advance and sets its workspace up for safety, it can then provide for the employee’s safety and train everyone involved much more thoroughly and easily.
For example, OSHA fall protection guidelines require that fall protection be provided at four feet for general workplaces, five feet high for shipyards, six feet in construction industry situations and eight feet in any longshore operation. With these guidelines in place, the workspace in these industries has become much safer in recent years.
This is the result of great planning when new workspaces are designed. It is also the result of providing the workers with the means to be safe in the first place. If a facility does not have the protection plans in place, if a worker falls or gets into a position where an accident can occur, the likelihood of a severe accident happening goes up dramatically.
Finally, training is an extremely important part of the equation when it comes to lowering the accident rates on the job site. Fall protection courses are one way that companies can do this. When a new employee is brought on by a company and will be asked to perform duties that could be risky, training that employee in the proper manner will go a long way to keeping that employee safe as well as all of the other employees around him.
Whether conducting a hazard assessment or developing a comprehensive fall protection plan, thinking about fall hazards before the work begins will help the employer to manage fall hazards and focus attention on prevention efforts. If personal fall protection systems are used, particular attention should be given to identifying attachment points and to ensuring that employees know how to properly use and inspect the equipment. The following references aid in recognizing and evaluating fall protection hazards in the workplace.
Whether it be conducting a hazard assessment of putting a comprehensive fall protection plan into place, companies have to think about all of the possible fall hazards before the work begins. This will help employers manage fall hazards and get the attention focused on prevention efforts.
If these mechanisms are put into place, then it becomes paramount that employers train the employees so that they know where the attachments are, how to use the equipment and how to regularly inspect the equipment.