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Focus on Fall Protection

Julie Copeland

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One of the most frequently sited workplace safety violations by the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) is Fall Protection. Each year over 100,000 injuries and deaths are attributable to work-related falls.

According to the National Safety Council, falls are one of the leading causes of deaths in the workplace. In addition to permanent injuries and lost lives caused by falls, businesses lose billions of dollars each year from significant increases in insurance premiums, workers’ compensation claims, product liability costs, and other related expenses.

With more than 7,400 violations in 2015, falls are a leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries in construction as proper fall protection is not always equipped at sites. Employers must protect workers from falling off overhead platforms, elevated workstations or into holes in the floor and walls.

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What Can be Done to Reduce Falls?

OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in long shoring operations. In addition, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.

To prevent employees from being injured from falls, employers must:

  • Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).

  • 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 (such as a vat or acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.

In addition to the steps outlined above, employers should provide employees with quality fall protection equipment. Falls can be prevented when employees understand proper set up and safe use of equipment.

When choosing fall protection equipment, look for products that are high quality, flexible and comfortable for employees to wear. The equipment should provide the correct protection for a specific job, not lock up or freeze due to weather, be able to absorb the force of a fall and use the best in modern fall protection technology.

Two products that meet these requirements and provide a dependable means of fall protection are the Latchways Mini Twin Leg Retractable Lanyard and the Latchways Leading Edge SRL from MSA.

Later this week we will take a deeper look at fall protection equipment and provide further details on these exciting new fall protection products from MSA.

Click here for more informaiton on fall protection training and additional products from MSA.

Have a Safe Day!

Topics: safety equipment, Fall protection, fall hazards

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