Fall protection is often seen as only a construction standard for safety, but it is equally important for general industry employee safety as well.
A quality fall protection program is the basis for ensuring employee safety when working at heights, this can include using powered equipment such a scissor lifts or order pickers, or working on unguarded surfaces above 4 feet.
This policy spells out all important aspects of fall protection for employee safety:
- When to use fall protection
- What fall protection is used
- Employee training for fall protection
- Fall Protection Inspection standards
- Rescue Plan
All employees that utilize fall protection must be trained on this policy, along with equipment specific training. Find other components to a fall protection program here.
To prevent employees from being injured from falls, employers must:
Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk by use of a railing and toeboard or a floor hole cover.
Provide a guardrail and toeboard around every open-sided platform, floor or runway that is 4 feet or higher off the ground or next level.
Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt), employers must provide guardrails and toeboards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and handrails.
These tips will help you remember the safe way to do things.
- Never work off the ground when you are extremely tired or under extreme stress. Your reflexes need to be at 100% to work in this dangerous environment.
- Never work off the ground if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This applies to prescription drugs that might alter your balance or mind.
- Never forget to remove tripping hazards. Tools, equipment and debris must be removed from all walking areas. They are responsible for a large percentage of workplace injuries above and on the ground.
- Never forget to watch your step. It sounds simple but you need to always be alert and aware of your environment above the ground. Things are active in a work environment and every time you enter an area things could have changed. Loose boards or debris could suddenly appear in an area they weren’t at five minutes ago.
- Never forget about personal protective equipment. Personal protective equipment can range from hard hats and gloves, to complex safety harnesses and netting and railing. Know your workplace and know what is required and never waiver from safety procedures.
- Never work in an off the ground environment without completing mandated OSHA training. The training is there for a reason – to protect you. Having the knowledge needed to work safety is critical to avoiding injuries and even death.