OSHA’s Step Up for Safety Campaign focuses on fall prevention. The National Fall Prevention Stand-Down Campaign is May 2 to 6, country wide. This Campaign intends to spread awareness to prevent fall hazards in construction. Construction employers are required to educate and train their employees on proper safety procedures and use of fall prevention equipment. OSHA has provided guidelines to host a successful “Stand-Down” Campaign with strategies to increase safety measures. In 2015, fatalities from falls were the leading cause of death in the workplace and there continues to be numerous fatalities caused from falls in 2016.
The most effective way to prevent falls in the workplace is to be well informed about proper procedures and safety equipment. Fall Safety Harnesses should be worn at all times when working at any height that can cause injury, even if it doesn’t seem like a hazard. The lives of these two construction workers were saved by the use of proper equipment :
By following safety guidelines put in place, the construction workers are alive today and the construction company averted hefty fines. On the other hand, there are many unwarranted deaths as new building construction in New York City surges. “Most construction sites where workers died failed to take basic steps to prevent them from falling. Workers frequently did not wear harnesses or helmets, as required by law. Supervision was often lacking. In many of the projects, a premium was placed on speed, causing workers to take dangerous shortcuts.”( Chen, David W., New York Times Article ). Other precautions to prevent falls from occurring include:
- Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk.
- Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
- Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment, employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
OSHA also requires employers to:
- Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.
- Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, dry condition.
- Select, train and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
- Train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand.
If fall safety is an issue in your workplace, take time this week to meet with your fellow employees to discuss ways to prevent catastrophes. If you do, share your story with us about how your workplace is making a difference. We could post your story to our website. After all, our goal is keeping people safe and healthy. It should be your goal too.