Working in the construction industry is a dangerous business. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) uses a term called the Fatal Four to describe the four leading causes of death and injury in the workplace. And at the top of that list… is falls. With a reported 351 fatalities in 2020 alone, falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry.
Therefore, it is your responsibility as a contractor or construction worker to know the risks and promote safety first. Follow these six fall prevention tips:
- Create an autumn plan for the construction. Every workplace is different, which means that every building̵7;s fall plan will be unique. Not only is it a safe practice to implement fall safety plans, it is actually necessary to use fall protection in many cases. OSHA requires fall protection when someone is working near unprotected sides that are six feet above the ground, when they are working on an excavation site with work six feet below the ground, and during roof work six feet above the ground. To make a safe and accurate plan, OSHA offers sample plans on its website. Review them and implement measures to prevent falls.
- Plan ahead before each job. Be sure to factor adequate safety equipment into your costs when estimating or quoting a job, especially for projects in elevated or underground spaces. Then review the upcoming job and allocate the tasks in advance. This will help create an understanding of expectations among team members and will ensure that all safety precautions are addressed before the job begins. Once on site, make sure all team members are familiar with the workspace and their exact tasks so there are no surprises when you start working.
- Prepare your workplace. Make sure the site is safe before starting any construction. Place guard rails and toe boards on each open platform. Monitor every hole that could pose a fall hazard for your employees. Set a standard to maintain a clean workplace at all times and encourage your team to speak up and be proactive about any messy or unsafe surfaces they see.
- Provide the right equipment. Choosing the right materials for each project is important because needs and risks can change from job to job. Obtain the proper scaffolding, ladders, harnesses, personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety equipment for the team, especially those working six feet or higher off the ground.
- Train all employees. Having the right equipment increases safety, but your workers need to understand how to use it properly as well. PPE is effective when used properly, so make sure your staff are properly trained in the use and maintenance of these items. Implement a workplace code of conduct that promotes safe behavior and interactions among the team. Review these nine safety tips for construction workers with each team member.
- Conduct daily briefings. Before each working day, have at least one person walk through the site and inspect it thoroughly. They can use this time to identify hazards, particularly fall hazards, inspect the condition of equipment and remove debris left from the day before. This simple daily task can exponentially improve safety on the job.
Protect your team from one of OSHA’s Fatal Four hazards with these fall prevention tips. Then add even more protection with contractor insurance for your business. Talk to a local, independent agent about coverage today.