According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), falls accounted for 350 fatalities in the construction industry during 2015. It’s no surprise that falls have gained special attention from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as one of the four most severe construction site hazards, otherwise known as the Focus Four. It’s crucial to remember safety tips and training while working from heights and never take fall prevention lightly.
OSHA requires fall protection when working at six feet or higher above a lower level and ten feet or higher when working on scaffolding. The three most common types of fall protection are guardrails, safety nets and personal fall arrest systems. In general, guardrails are the safest choice because they prevent falls rather than limiting how far you fall. If you are unsure about which type of fall protection is required or notice any damage to your protection, speak with a supervisor before you begin work.
Ladders should only be used for their intended purpose. For extension ladder placement follow the one-to-four ratio: the base of the ladder should rest (on firm footing) one foot away from the wall for every four feet of height. The top should also extend three feet above the roof edge. While climbing, always maintain three-point contact (one foot and two hands or two feet and one hand) and keep your body between the two rungs.
Roofs and skylights
When working on a roof, full body harnesses need to be worn versus belts. Belts can result in serious injuries upon catching your fall. Skylights can present additional hazards to roof work, especially in Texas where ultraviolet and other elements can weaken them over time. All openings, skylights and holes greater than two inches need to be guarded or covered and should never be expected to hold weight. Falls could also be caused by a slip or trip, which is why it’s important to keep the surface clear of any obstacles or tangled lines.
Scaffolds must be designed by a qualified person and inspected daily by a competent person. However, the responsibility doesn’t stop with these individuals. If you notice any damage to a scaffold or have questions about your training, speak with a supervisor. Make sure to follow safe loading guidelines and only use the designated means of access.
Small to mid-size employers use Professional Employer Organizations (PEO) such as LCR Resource, Inc. to assist them in keeping a safe work place. PEO’s can assist in training staff through toolbox talks and establish safety practices to eliminate potential risk factors. Give us a call to find out more (915) 701-2325
Source: Texas Mutual Insurance Company