It is estimated that approximately 8% of all work-related injuries leading to death are from falls. OSHA states that between 150- 200 deaths are accounted for each year from falls, along with 100,000 injuries. Many of these falls could have been prevented. Some of these deaths may have happened because the fall protection used was either faulty, not used correctly, or not even used at all.
Fall protection can be defined as using controls in order to protect employees from falling, or if they do fall, then protecting themselves so a severe injury is not caused. Examples of fall protection include nets, warning lines, guardrails, and Parapet walls.
Worker protection has increased when it comes to falling. Federal OSHA and state regulations are demanding that safer options are offered to those working in the construction field. Guidelines have been issued against fall protection with government safety groups holding seminars to discuss this issue as well.
It is suggested that employers keep up on fall protection regulations and also take a competent training course. Fall safety equipment should always be provided for employees. Great examples of this include suspension belts, full body harnesses, body belts, cable lanyards, rope lanyards, shock absorbers, rails, and rope grabs. All equipment should be checked every day before they are used in order to check for defects, rips, tears, or excessive wear. Everyone on the construction site needs to take responsibility for fall safety.
In general industry workplaces, OSHA requires fall protection to be provided when there are elevations at 4 feet. Shipyards can have elevations up to 5 feet, and six feet can be used in the construction industry. In the construction business, common fall hazards include open holes in floors that are not covered properly to avoid falls, an improper guardrail on a scaffold system, and leading edges that can be found on roofs of the building being constructed.
There are different kinds of fall protection: fall arrest, positioning, suspension, and retrieval.
Whenever an employee is exposed to a fall, a fall arrest system should be used. A fall hazard can best be described as a drop in a walking or working surface to a lower grade. There are exceptions to this, such as ladders, steel work, and scaffolding. Equipment that can be used for fall arrest includes a body harness, anchor point, self-retracting lifelines, vertical lifelines, and a connector.
Workers are able to sit back in their harnesses while working with their hands when a positioning system is used. When the worker wants to activate them, they simply lean back. It must be used in conjunction with a fall arrest.
Workers can be supported and are able to lower themselves when a suspension system is used. This will also allow employees to work hand free. Many kinds of workers utilize this system, including painters and window washers. Along with a suspension system, a fall arrest system must also be used.
All fall protection plans should have a retrieval plan. Some companies may refer to this as a rescue plan. This plan will let workers know what is expected when a fall does arise. OSHA does not give exact instructions for this, but each company is expected to have its own plan in place.
As you can see, there are many different kinds of systems that can be put into place for fall protection. These systems are needed to keep everyone on the job safe. If you are unsure about any of the options, are not sure what OSHA requires your company to have, or need help deciding which equipment is right for your company, feel free to contact Beam Runner today!