Falls are the Leading Cause of Death in Construction
Though construction workers face many potential work hazards, falls are the leading cause of death on a construction site. In 2016, OSHA found that deaths relating to falls accounted for just over 39 percent of all deaths on a construction work site. Fall protection in construction also topped the OSHA list of Top 10 violations in 2017.
When should Fall Protection be Used?
OSHA requires the use of fall protection for workers in the following circumstances:
1) Any time an individual is working near unprotected sides and edges that are 6 feet above the ground.
2) When employees are working at excavation sites that require them to be 6 feet below the surface, they are required to use fall protection or fall arrest systems.
3) Workers that are engaged in roofing activities that have them 6 feet above the ground
Simple Steps to Prevent Construction Falls:
To prevent falls from occurring on your job site, safety professionals can follow these simple steps:
1. Fall Prevention Plan
First, have a fall prevention plan put into place. A fall prevention plan requires an assessment of the tasks required to be completed at the construction job site and any associated fall hazards with this task. The plan should include the appropriate safety equipment and training to prevent falls. Many organizations include fall prevention planning as part of an overall job safety analysis plan. See our blog post on the 4 steps of a job safety analysis.
2. Conduct Daily Walk Throughs
As part of best construction practices, many job sites have supervisors, employees, or safety professionals conduct a daily walk through to identify and address any hazards (including fall hazards) before starting work for the day. Some job sites utilize a job safety analysis template and have individual employees sign off that all relevant job hazards have been identified and mitigated prior to beginning work.
3. Check Fall Protection Equipment
Fall Protection Equipment should be checked on a regular basis by following OSHA requirements and manufacturer recommendations. OSHA 1926.502(d) 21 requires:
Personal fall arrest systems shall be inspected prior to each use for wear, damage and other deterioration, and defective components shall be removed from service.
Most equipment manufacturers require an inspection of equipment by a competent person every six months. Guardian even has a template for inspection for common types of fall equipment.
The IndustrySafe Inspection Module allows organizations to track fall protection inspections as well as set up scheduled reminders to inspect equipment every six months.
4. Fall Prevention Training Courses
Employees need to be trained on the appropriate use of fall protection. Common fall protection topics for front line construction workers include:
- Fall Protection in Construction Environments
Slips, Trips and Falls in Construction Environments
Supported Scaffolding Safety in Construction Environments
- Suspended Scaffolding Safety in Construction Environments
For safety professionals and other employees, that are fulfilling the role of a competent person for fall protection training, more in-depths courses are available as well.
With IndustrySafe's safety management software, your company can utilize the software to manage multiple aspects of your fall prevention program including job safety analysis, inspections, and fall protection training. For more information contact us today.