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Safety Tips: Fall Protection

Safety Tips: Fall Protection

Did You Know? Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.  Falls from elevations account for approximately one-third of all deaths in construction.  Falls can be prevented.  Employers can set-up the job-site and workplace to prevent falls from overhead platforms, elevated work stations, or into holes in the floors and walls.

OSHA requires all companies to provide fall protection for elevations of four feet in general industry workplace and six feet in the construction industry.  They also require fall protection to be provided when working over any dangerous machinery or equipment regardless of distance.

Fall Prevention Safety Tips for Employers (from OSHA’s Alliance Program):
  • Develop a written fall prevention plan.
  • Identify potential fall hazards prior to each project and during daily walkarounds. Pay attention to hazards associated with routine and non-routine tasks.
  • Eliminate the need for fall protection where possible by rescheduling the task, isolating the task, or changing the task.
  • Ensure that fall protection equipment is appropriate for the task, in good condition, and used properly.
  • Conduct general fall prevention training on a regular basis.
  • Train workers on the specific fall hazards identified and on the required personal protective equipment.
    Conduct regular inspections of fall protection equipment in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations and OSHA requirements.
  • Emphasize fall hazards unique to the site, such as open floor holes or shafts, riser penetrations, and skylights.
  • Team up with other construction employers and employees to identify best practices and share fall prevention solutions.

Safety Work Practices & Tips:
  • Identify all potential trip­ping and fall hazards before work starts.
  • Look for fall hazards such as unprotected floor openings/edges, shafts, skylights, stairwells, and roof openings/edges.
  • Inspect fall protection equipment for defects before use.
  • Select, wear and use fall protection equipment appropriate for the task.
  • Secure and stabilize all ladders before climbing them.
  • Never stand on the top rung/step of a ladder.
  • Use handrails when you go up or down stairs.
  • Practice good housekeep­ing. Keep cords, welding leads and air hoses out of walkways or adjacent work areas.

Interesting Sites with Additional Information and Tips:

Amerisafe – Checklist for Personal Fall Protection

CWPR Toolbox Talk: Falls from Moving Machinery (PDF)

CWPR Toolbox Talk: Preventing Falls from Scaffolding (PDF)

CWPR Toolbox Talk: General Protection and Awareness (PDF)

Sources of Tips and Information in this Post:

OSHA – Fall Protection:

OSHA’s Alliance Safety Tips for Employers and Employees (PDF)

OSHA’s Fall Protection Quick Card (PDF)

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