New Campaign On Reducing Falls Announced by OSHA
When it comes to fatalities in Construction, falls lead the list. In 2010, out of 774 total fatalities, 264 of those were from falls, a whopping 35%!. The grand majority of those were falls to a lower level (97%). As such, OSHA has set their Fall, 2012 Prevention Campaign to address this vital area of safety.
Using the watchwords PLAN – PROVIDE – TRAIN, OSHA is partnering with NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Heath) and the Construction sector of NORA (National Occupational Research Agenda) to raise awareness among workers and employers regarding common fall hazards in construction. This includes focus areas such as falls from ladders, scaffolds and roof-tops.
The program is broken in to three areas of construction safety awareness:
PLAN Ahead To Get The Job Done Safely. The goal of this topic is to help workers, contractors and employers think ahead when a construction activity involves possible fall risks, and address, proactively, the elements of the risk and thus plan for successful safety. Key elements have to do with evaluating how the job is to be done, the tasks that will be involved and what safety equipment will be needed in those tasks. Employers and contractors are urged to make sure that when estimating the cost of a job that proper consideration is giving to fall protection or personal fall arrest systems, and make sure that these items are delivered to the job site at the appropriate time. Workers should plan to be familiar with those fall arrest systems and have a good introductory knowledge of basic safety principles through the OSHA Outreach Training Program, which is required in some states.
PROVIDE The Right Equipment. Workers that perform construction tasks six feet or more above lower levels are at the highest risk for serious injury or death should they fall to a lower level. When considering work at these heights, there should be increased care in delivering the right equipment for the job, such as quality ladders, scaffolding or other safety equipment. When considering Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS), for instance, they should be regularly inspected and provide proper harnesses for each worker who needs to tie off to the anchor.
TRAIN Everyone To Use The Equipment Safely. With proper, trained use of equipment and setup, lives can be saved. Employers must be passionate about safety and understand how training of workers is an investment in risk management, Workers that are educated on safety protocols are safer employees. This starts with employers stressing the importance of hazard recognition and understanding the safe use of related tools and equipment such as ladders, scaffolding and personal fall arrest systems. Companies that commit to a corporate policy of safety education and training, will reap the benefits of a safer workforce, lower incidence of injury, lower insurance premiums and increased productivity leading to a more profitable enterprise.
For more information on OSHA’s Fall Campaign, go to http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/index.html.