One of the most important things to remember when working in construction is to keep your feet beneath you. If your feet do not touch the ground, you are at risk of a fall. Falls can also lead to fatalities for construction employees on the jobsite. OSHA reports that out of the 796 fatalities in the construction industry in 2013, 294 resulted from falls. Many fall-related accidents can be prevented. Make the most of your time on the clock and protect your livelihood by following these safety precautions:
Tip #1: Be Prepared
Never go to work without safety on your mind. Think about how you are going to work when elevated places are involved. How are you going to reach the top? How do you plan to get down during an emergency? Consider your climbing equipment. Are you working from a ladder or scaffold? If you are going to be on a rooftop while working, your employer must have a fall prevention and safety plan for you and your coworkers. Are other workers prepared to help you in case of an emergency? Make sure that you have the appropriate equipment—such as ladders, safety nets or guardrails.
Falls in the construction industry can be prevented with a personal fall arrest system (PFAS), which is worn to prevent falls from unprotected sides and edges. Before work begins, inspect the jobsite by performing a job safety analysis. Mark off hazardous areas and ensure that all equipment and tools are in good working order.
Tip #2: Have the Right Equipment for the Job
If you are working on rooftops, you need to have the right tools, footwear, and materials for the job. So why not include safety gear in your work essentials? In addition to having a survey or blueprint that shows where skylights, process equipment, and vent holes are located in your working space, utilize a safety harness or other fall protection equipment—and know how and where to tie off.
Understand how to use fall protection equipment and take training regularly. Practice using your PFAS to prevent falls and master what to do in an emergency situation. OSHA requires fall protection at six feet or more in construction, while some employers or state regulations may require fall protection at four feet or higher.
The #3: Practice, Practice, Practice
In order to maximize your safety gear and PFAS, you have to practice the methods on a regular basis. Employers must ensure that employees are fully aware of the hazards and how to use the safety gear for specific jobs. Additionally, everyone on your crew should be fully capable of handling and inspecting the condition of the following equipment:
- Fall protection systems
- Safety nets
- Aerial lifts or man lifts
- Hole covers
Give yourself the full advantage in 2015 by knowing the risks associated with falls. The benefits of practicing safety measures go far beyond seeing yourself happy and healthy this year. You are also protecting those who are working with you by promoting positive work habits regarding safety and accident prevention. If you are interested in finding out more about safety protocols in the construction industry, then sign up and attend OSHA training courses!