Tips for Preventing Construction Falls

When it comes to construction-site accidents, falls are more common – and often more deadly – than you may think. In fact, according to OSHA, of the 1,008 construction-related deaths in 2018, 338 were due to falls on the jobsite. Deaths from falls can often be easily prevented if the proper work is done to ensure that you and your team are prepared. OSHA offers basic tips to help you prevent falls on the jobsite:

Plan Ahead to Get the Job Done Safely

It is of the utmost importance to assign jobs and locations so that the team knows where everyone on the site is at all times. It is your project manager’s responsibility to make the plans so make sure to pay attention in meetings. The information is just as important to you as it is to them. Consider scheduling a one-on-one with your manager to discuss the plan and just ask if there is an opportunity to help out in the early stages of planning. When preparing, think about different hazards like holes and skylights.

Have the Right Equipment

Having the proper safety tools is crucial, particularly when you are working on tall buildings and roofs. According to Simplified Safety, there are three different types of fall protection. They are fall prevention, fall restraint, and fall arrest. Fall prevention “creates a barrier between the person and the fall hazard.” The proper equipment for fall prevention would include guardrails, skylight protection, and safety barriers. Fall restraint “prevents people from reaching a fall hazard through a tie-off system.” A safety harness and lanyard “tied off at a set length from a weighted tie-off point” would be used for this type of prevention to help you stay secure and give you extra support. Fall arrest “stops a fall that is in progress through a tie-off system.” The equipment used for this would be a harness and a “retractable tied off to an anchor point.”  Before using one of these techniques, talk to your supervisor to determine which would work best for your jobsite.

Get Trained to Use the Equipment Safely

Before you use any equipment, you need to be properly trained to do so. Using a piece of equipment you are unfamiliar with can be dangerous to both you and your coworkers. If your supervisor assigns you to a tool and you are unsure how to use it, ask about proper techniques. If you want to prepare for a job early, OSHA provides a number of different resources with directions to help you better understand how to use the equipment. You will also be taught about equipment safety during your site-safety training so be sure to refer to your course materials.

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