- Dec 8, 2020
Because falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 32% construction fatalities recorded in 2018 (BLS data), we wanted to share OSHA’s guidelines in developing a fall prevention program.
Gilbane is continuously dedicated to ensuring the safety of all workers on our jobsites. The best way to prevent falls from occurring is to eliminate the hazard, followed by substitution and engineering the hazard out. Too often in construction we reach for a Personal Fall Arrest System – such as a lanyard or body harness- before evaluating a situation and looking for a way to eliminate and/or engineer a hazard out because it takes a little more time or costs a little more. In most cases, the care spent up front is beneficial to all parties saving time, money and lives in the long run.
Recently, North Carolina’s Honeywell Gilbane project team took part in a fall protection demo from our client Honeywell/Miller. “The safety trainer did a good job explaining the ABC’s of fall prevention, but the best part was that we were able to have a worker speak to the troops whose suffered a serious fall,” explained Sr. Safety Manager, Sinue Tinoco. “His speech was very impactful and motivational to the workers.”
Design and Planning:
During design, a planning phase, design and construction teams work together to anticipate the possible construction issues a project may face. During this same time, it is also important to analyze possible safety risks using past lessons learned and industry best practices to eliminate or minimize any potential fall hazards during the project’s lifecycle. Recommendations at this phase can be studied, evaluated and implemented well before construction starts creating a safer outcome for both construction workers and the end users.
Throughout the project lifecycle:
As the project progresses, proactively planning before the start of any major task will continue to mitigate fall hazards from our jobsites. Circumstances associated with fall incidents in the work environment frequently involve:
- Slippery, cluttered, or unstable walking/working surfaces
- Unprotected edges, floor holes and wall openings
- Misused permanent or personal fall protection
Proper housekeeping and material storage prevent slips/trips/falls. Proper edge and hole protection prevent falling objects and twisted ankles. Maintenance of guardrails, barriers along with proper personal fall protection training, inspection and use prevent falls from heights. Constantly analyzing each type of fall hazards will create projects that are safe, effective, and productive.
Controlling exposures to occupational hazards is the fundamental method of protecting workers. Traditionally, a hierarchy of controls has been used as a means of determining how to implement feasible and effective control solutions. One representation of this hierarchy is as follows:
While falls from heights are one of the most dangerous threats on our jobsites, they are also preventable. Take some time to study your own jobsite and implement impactful lifesaving fall prevention measures. #StandDown4Safety