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Recognizing and Preparing For Fall Hazards

Julie Copeland

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Fall protection is always on our minds, especially this time of year when there seems to be an increase in fall fatalities and citations.

Because slips, trips and fall injuries make up almost 20 percent of all job related injuries, it’s worth sharing again some of OSHA’s fall related statistics:Protect your workers from fall hazards.

•  It is estimated that these injuries result in an average of 11 days away from work;

•  Approximately 19, 565 people die in the U.S. annually due to injuries caused by unintentional falls; 

•  Slips, trips and falls cause 15% of all accidental deaths;

•  Slips, trips and fall injuries account for between 12 and 15 percent of all Workers' Compensation expenses;

•  Slips, trip and fall injuries cost employers approximately $40,000 per incident

One way to increase safe fall protection is by replacing 6’ shock absorbing lanyards with Retractable Lifelines. There really isn’t enough clearance for work performed under 20’, and most 6’ shock absorbing lanyards can’t stop a person hitting the ground in time. A Retractable Lifelife can be more effective when used properly, however, retractable use needs more training and inspection by those who use them.

Recognizing this, ANSI (American National Standards Institute) introduced a new standard for retractables in September. The key components are worth sharing:

1.  This new standard classifies retractables into two classes A & B.

A. Class A retractables arrest falls under 24" but could take the maximum fall arrest force up to 1800 lbs.

B.Class B retractables can arrest a fall in under 54", but the maximum fall arrest force is 900 lbs. (in most cases)

2.  ANSI now specifies the use of special retractables to be used when working tied off at one’s feet, or when the lifeline could be exposed to the leading edge. The retractables are called SRL-LE (meaning Self Retracting Lifeline - Leading Edge)

3.  ANSI now requires inspection of retractables by the frequency of use. ANSI requires inspection by a "Competent Inspector" or the factory. This new inspection criterion is very specific on the requirements by the owner or user of this equipment.

Please note that several factors should be considered when determining fall clearance, including anchorage type and location, worker height, arrest distance and a clearance safety factor.

Arbill offers an effective approach to minimize fall hazard exposure and ensure that your safety goals are met. Our recommendations are practical, realistic and offer a range of options to meet your budget needs. Our Vantage Fall Hazard Risk Assessment solutions include:

• Anchor Points

• Guardrail Systems

• Horizontal Systems

• Process Equipment Design Modifications

• Elevated Work Platforms

• Access Ladders

Your Arbill representative can help assess your locations for workplace hazards and help build a culture of safety in your organization. For more information about fall hazard exposure or other workplace safety needs, contact us or visit our website.

Have a safe day!

Topics: trip and fall injuries, Arbill, culture of safety, fall hazards, workplace hazards

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