The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has very specific rules and regulations to address falls in the workplace. These rules and regulations specifically apply to any workers who use rigging equipment. OSHA rules on workplace safety seem to be working. There were only 3.4 incidents where workers were hurt on the job per 100 people in 2011, that is down from 10.9 incidents per 100 people in 1972.
OSHA has instituted a three part system for employers to use to prevent falls and keep workers safe in the workplace. The OSHA fall protection is plan, provide, and train. This protocol is especially important for workers whose jobs put them at higher elevations when they are working on a job.
The first step is to plan.
They say that “a failure to plan is a plan to fail.” With that in mind, OSHA requires that employers make plans to safely complete all of their projects. When workers’ jobs require they use scaffolds, work on roofs or climb ladders, the company has to plan the projects in a way that they are executed as safety as possible. The first step they need to take is to map out how the job is completed, write out a list of each task that needs to be completed and in what order and the task list needs to specify at each step the exact safety tools and equipment will be used to finish the task at hand.
This plan has to be considered when working out the budget for the project. The costs associated with procuring the safety equipment must be factored into the budget for the project. Additionally, these items have to be delivered to the work site prior to the commencement of any work. For instance, when rigging equipment is going to be used, the elevation of the workers will need to be factored in to the plan. This will determine the kind of safety equipment that will be needed. If the worker is going to be above 25 feet, there will have to be a safety net. For lower heights, other kinds of equipment may be used.
The next step is to provide the necessary equipment.
All workers who are on a project must be provided with the right tools and equipment to get the job done correctly. It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure these items are available to all of the people who are working on the project. They need to make sure the correct kinds of safety hear, scaffolds and ladders are made available to the workers. They need access to the specific tools and equipment their particular job will need. In addition to the right tools and equipment for the job, employers cannot withhold the correct fall protection equipment. This is especially crucial for anyone who is expected to work at a height of six feet or higher.
Not every ladder is appropriate for every job. Not every piece of rigging equipment is appropriate for every job either. The key is to have the correct equipment for the specific job at hand. Anyone working with rigging equipment has to be given personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) and a harness. The employer also needs to make sure it fits the worker and that everything the workers are using is in good enough condition to be used safely.
The last step is to train all workers on the correct way to use the safely equipment
When all the workers on the job have been fully trained on the safe use and correct way to set up the safety equipment, the chances that someone will fall are greatly reduced. Everyone on the job also has to be fully trained and up tp speed on the particular equipment they will be using. They have to also be trained in how to recognize hazards when they see them and the safe use of fall protection systems, ladders, scaffolds and whatever other equipment they will be required to use to get their job accomplished. This training must be provided by the employer.
Safety should be on everyone’s mind when dealing with workers at any height. By strictly adhering to OSHA’s guidelines for fall protection, everyone will be safer.