In 2014, approximately 4,679 workers in the U.S. succumbed to fatal work injuries — and 793 were caused by falls, slips and trips, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Marking a total increase of 10% from 2013, the number of falls to a lower level rose by 9% and those on the same level surged to 17%.
While it’s easy to assume these fatal falls took the victims down hundreds of feet, in reality, four-fifths plummeted 30 ft. or less, with two-thirds dropping 20 ft. or less. Falls happen in the blink of an eye, so as an employer, it’s your responsibility to take every precaution to keep your workers safe. When employees start their shifts each day, they expect — and rightfully so — to finish work in the same condition.
Learn how to provide your team with a safe worksite where they can do their jobs without the unnecessary risk of falls.
3 OSHA Guidelines to Prevent Workplace Falls
When a worker is at a height of six feet or more OSHA mandates the implementation of these rules.
If your employees walk or work on a surface with an unprotected side or edge, you are required to have a proper fall protection program in place. Training must be provided and the plan needs to be evaluated on a regular basis.
Unprotected Sides, Wall Openings and Floor Holes
When any of these risks are present, at least one guardrail, safety net or fall arrest system must be in place. Floor holes and openings must be covered or guarded immediately, and all floor hole covers must be designed to support two times the estimated weight of people and objects expected to be on them at any one time.
A host of precautions must be put in place when ladders are used, as they have the potential to move and slip when not properly secured. For example, only ladders that comply with OSHA standards can be used and even then, they still must be inspected prior to each use.
Generally speaking, proper planning, training and buying the right equipment builds the foundation for a workplace safe from falls. Full efforts must constantly be made to ensure all equipment continues to meet standards and all workers comply with proper safety guidelines.
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