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Construction Depot

Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry

December 14, 2016

 
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Seven ways to prevent falls at your site

For many in the construction industry, equipment is the first thing that comes to mind as a means for preventing falls. But fall protection is more than just equipment. Here are seven ways to prevent falls at your site.

1. Make fall protection part of your safety program and ensure that everyone has a role to play in preventing falls

Effective safety programs have committed managers and involved employees – they are committed to safety and involved in keeping your site hazard free.

2. Enforce safe practices with on the job supervision

Effective supervisors know how to motivate employees and, when discipline is necessary, they know how to apply it fairly. Essential tasks for supervisors:

3. Prepare a safety policy

Does your company have a written safety policy? It should. A written policy reflects commitment to a safe and healthful workplace, summarizes management and employee responsibilities, and emphasizes the importance of your safety program. Keep the policy brief, commit to it, and enforce it.

4. Designate competent and qualified persons

The competent person

The qualified person

5. Plan to prevent falls

Consider factors such as the following to help you plan your job at the site:

6. Train workers about fall protection

Don't assume your employees know how to protect themselves from falls. They may not be familiar with fall hazards at a new job site or know how to protect themselves until you train them.

Employees must be trained before they begin tasks that could expose them to falls and before they use fall-protection equipment. They must know how to recognize fall hazards and follow safe practices.

Put it in writing: You must document in writing that employees have been trained and that they know what fall-protection systems or methods to use, how to use them, and when to use them, regardless of their experience. Include their names, training dates, and the trainer's signature.

Employees must be retrained for any of the following reasons:

7. Use equipment that prevents falls from happening

When possible, use equipment such as guardrails, covers, and restraint systems that will eliminate employees' chances of falling.

If it's not possible to eliminate fall hazards, protect workers if they do fall. Use equipment that will minimize the risk of injury if a worker does fall. Options include personal fall arrest systems and safety nets. Also, develop a rescue plan that tells employees how to respond if something does go wrong.

 

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