Try as we might to avoid them, falls happen everywhere, all the time.
- The American Journal of Emergency Medicine estimates that more than a million Americans injuries themselves on stairs every year.
- One in three elderly adults suffers a serious stairway fall every year.
- Staircase accidents are the second-leading cause of accident injury, right behind motor vehicle accidents.
- Planning: Before starting a construction job, take time to complete a Job Safety Analysis to analyze all the potential risks and hazards associated with the job. Scan the job site for potential hazards and try to identify faulty equipment. Using a JSA along with some time of safety software can help a supervisor identify risks easier and help keep workers safe, thereby cutting down on the number of falls.
Another key is to give workers everything they need to do their jobs as safely as possible. If you’re hauling equipment from point to point, get some trailer door straps or heavy duty trailer door straps to ensure that the trailer doors don’t open up during transport. If there’s lifting required, for example moving materials and equipment from one level to another, use nylon lifting straps or four-leg slings to assist in the heavy lifting.
Safety harnesses are essential too, especially for workers who may be doing roofing work. Make sure each worker has a harness, make sure it fits properly and make sure each one is tied to an anchor.
- Training: Another essential part of helping to prevent falls is to have ongoing, mandatory safety training. If you’re a worker or a supervisor who’s managing workers who work at high heights, getting as much training is crucial.
Supervisors should schedule formal and informal training sessions to give workers all the knowledge they need to stay safe. The trainings can be simple things like securing a trailer load with trailer door straps to how to properly use a ladder. Establishing best practice will help workers know what the right things to do on a job site are and will help keep them safer.
Supervisors should also keep safety training records, so they can see which workers have been involved in specific sessions. It will also help supervisors keep track of all the sessions they’ve held and helps them plan future training sessions, whether they’re refresher courses or brand new topics.
- Tracking: In any sort of construction-type industry, the goal is to be safe. Supervisors should require their workers to report on any unsafe conditions or close-calls they might encounter while on the job. Close-calls should be used as learning experiences so that workers can understand what happened, why it happened and what can be done to prevent it.
Keeping track of injuries, accidents, close-calls and corrective measures helps supervisors establish a system of safety management that can be reviewed and where progress can be monitored.
Falls are common on construction sites too. In fact, falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry and lack of fall protection is the most frequently listed OHSA violation.
Working in construction can be a dangerous job, but there are several things that can be done to make it as safe as possible:
Keeping workers safe and offering training will keep construction workers safe and should hopefully cut down on the number of falls. From using trailer door straps properly to using self locking slings, using the proper equipment, knowing how to use it and getting the proper training, will help keep workers safe.