In the construction industry, falls are the leading cause of workplace fatalities according to OSHA. In 2015 alone, 350 workers lost their lives due to completely preventable accidents. The National Safety Council found falls are responsible for the most non-fatal missed days of work. Clearly, falls and related accidents can be a large liability for any commercial project. However, with proper fall prevention techniques, contractors can protect their employees and profit margins all at once.
OSHA: Plan, Provide, Train
OSHA has partnered with NIOSH and NORA to develop a fall prevention campaign using three simple reminders to help prevent falls. These steps are plan, provide, and train.
Planning ahead allows contractors and engineers to design systems that adequately protect all involved. Superintendents can order the proper safety equipment, install fall arrest systems, and ensure all employees receive the correct training.
This goes along with providing the right equipment, which is OSHA's second step. The right kinds of ladders, safety gear, scaffolds, and fall prevention systems make a world of difference. Lastly, every worker needs to be properly trained in how to use the safety equipment provided. For example, a fall arrest system does not work if employees do not know how to properly use a harness. Safety equipment is only as good as the training you provide.
Implement Consistent Training
A recent study in the Journal of Safety Research found consistent fall prevention training to be a vital part of worksite safety. Productivity demands, project deadlines, and inexperience all contributed to foremen not adequately training their workers about fall prevention techniques. With the implementation of a daily safety meeting, mentoring new employees, and consistent training, fall prevention compliance improved dramatically. Spending a few minutes daily on general site safety, as well as having employees complete an online OSHA Fall Protection program, can greatly reduce the number of fall-related accidents.
Hire A Construction Engineer
There is a more practical alternative to making your employees complete endless safety training. Instead, retain a third-party firm to act as a construction engineer. These firms help contractors solve problems and have the knowledge to make proper sequencing decisions. They also provide safety audits, act as competent persons for liability protection, and can provide expert witness in the event of a tragedy.
Design professionals can play an important role in improving safety on construction sites. While the engineer of record will often not help a contractor in safety decisions due to conflicts of interest, a construction engineer has the technical expertise to advise regarding engineering decisions on behalf of the construction firm.
In addition, having a competent person on site to monitor safety concerns is required by OSHA. A third party who fulfills this role can also conduct independent safety audits, which have been proven to provide accountability in implementing fall prevention practices.
Have Your Fall Protection Equipment Professionally Engineered
The safety equipment used in fall prevention should reflect the specific needs of your site. Selecting a professional engineering firm who has the expertise to provide fall protection engineering should be at the top of your list when considering safety. Regardless of whether you need horizontal lifelines or vertical lifelines, roof anchor analysis, anchorage design, or a custom-built fall protection system, choosing a professional firm with years of experience can allow you to rest easy, knowing all employees are safe.
With 33+ years of experience and over 6000 company projects, DH Glabe & Associates can provide a complete fall protection system that complies with latest OSHA and Cal/OSHA standards. In addition, we also provide fall protection testing and inspection of fall protection systems. In short, we do it all to protect you from a fall.