From year to year, the top 10 most cited violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rarely change with the exception of a slight change in order. Fall protection continues to top that list, ranking number one for 2017. Falls continue to be a major cause of deaths in the construction. As a matter of fact, over 6,000 fall violations occurred in the construction industry in 2017.
Fall protection continues to be a concern for OSHA, this is why our Florida OSHA defense attorneys encourage employers to be proactive about fall protection at the workplace by keeping the following tips top of mind.
Plan Ahead With a Fall Protection Plan
Planning ahead for fall protection is a must. A fall protection plan is a government regulated written plan that is to be made available to workers who will be working at heights. The purpose of the plan is to ensure that the worksite is safe, and it regulates the use of best fall protection practices including equipment, measures, and techniques. The plan should address the following:
- Fall protection training
- Rescue plans
- Identify existing and potential fall hazards
- Procedures for handling tools and materials
- Procedures for handling fall protection systems
Know the Regulatory Requirements
In order to be OSHA compliant you must stay abreast of current, new, and updated regulations. For example, in January 2017, the Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems (29 CFR 1910 Subparts D&I) was issued. This update now addresses personal fall arrest systems, designated areas for roofing work, and fall protection on fixed ladders. No matter what industry you work in, it is imperative that you know what general or industry-specific regulations apply to you.
Develop a Well-Organized Rescue Plan
What happens after a worker falls is just as critical as preventing a fall. Your fall protection equipment and plans may prevent a worker from falling, but what if it doesn’t? Do you have a cohesive plan for recovering that worker swiftly if they are left suspended by a wire or strap? Take the time to practice how you will rescue a worker who has fallen as well as the proper equipment needed to rescue the worker. The length of time that a worker is left suspended in a harness is critical because it could lead to unconsciousness and even death.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.