I bet you didn’t know that in a recent year, OSHA recorded 1,048 workers that died on the job, with 335, or 32%, resulting from falls.
Each year, falls consistently account for the greatest number of accidents and fatalities. Events surrounding these types of accidents often involve a number of factors, including unstable work surfaces, misuse or lack of fall protection equipment, and human error. Many deaths and injuries from falls can be prevented with the use of guardrails, fall arrest systems, safety nets, covers, and barrier guards.
The following hazards cause a majority of falls:
Performing elevated maintenance without the use of proper fall protection makes for a serious fall hazard. Always wear a personal fall arrest system that is properly fitted. Match the system to the particular work situation and keep the potential free fall distance to a minimum.
Lumber, debris, slippery surfaces, and unorganized materials and equipment in the work area can cause serious falls hazards. Good housekeeping practices can eliminate these hazards and reduce falls.
Stairways and stairwells can also be serious hazards. Handrails should always be placed on stairs and stairwells but in most cases, failure to use the handrails has resulted in the most serious injuries. Also, never place or store materials or tools on stairways.
- Floor openings and pits when not in use must always be barricaded or covered. Use planking, netting, or covers that are securely fastened to prevent accidental falls.
Follow proper ladder procedures to reduce your chances:
Ladder rails and rungs must always be of the proper design, material, and size. Ladders should never be used if the rails are cracked or the rungs are broken.
Ladders that lead to landings or walkways should extend at least 36 inches above the landing and must be securely fastened.
Improper placement of the ladder can result in a sudden shift. The base of the ladder should be set at a distance of one-fourth the height of the ladder away from the wall or structure.
Always use two hands when climbing a ladder. Carrying objects in one hand can cause a sudden fall. Place both hands on the side rails or rungs.
Ascending or descending a ladder backwards is a sure way to head for trouble. Always face the ladder when climbing, descending, or working on it.
Many serious falls can occur while hurrying –WALK, don’t run.
- Management can do everything possible to provide safe working conditions, but your help is essential.
- Everyone must be alert to the hazards that can cause falls. If hazards are discovered, they must be reported to the supervisor and immediate action must be taken to eliminate them.
Chance Takers are Accident Makers!
Download flyer: SMOTW_44_Fall Hazards.pdf (103.79 kb)