Fall protection is the use of tools and regulations designed to help protect personnel from falling or when they do fall, to stop them without causing severe injury or death. Typically, fall protection is implemented when working at heights, but may be relevant when working near any edge, such as near a pit or hole, or performing work on a steep surface.
Categories of fall protection include fall elimination, fall prevention, fall arrest, and administrative controls (such as a safety observer or warning lines). Fall accidents account for about 39% of all work-related injuries, including death. After transportation-related deaths, accidental falls are the leading cause of death on the job. Estimates of more than $61 billion per year is spent on disability claims in America, with over $15 billion (approximately 25%) resulting from falls.
Fall protection has historically been a top 10 OSHA citation and falls are a leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Employers can, however, take steps to reduce fall injuries and fatalities by understanding how to properly design, implement and use fall protection systems.
The law requires that employers must set up the workplace to prevent employees from falling from overhead platforms, elevated workstations or into holes in the floor and walls. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations. In addition, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.
The top ten fall protection misuses are:
- Misuse of rebar snap hooks
- Inappropriate anchorage connections
- Insufficient anchorage strength
- Anchoring below dorsal D-ring
- Confusing twin-leg energy-absorbing and self-retracting devices
- Using damaged and recalled equipment
- Improper fit of equipment
- Misuse of leading-edge self-retracting devices
- Not meeting warning line system requirements
- Poorly designed horizontal lifelines
The Ebbert Company sales team is well versed in OSHA regulations and we stay on top of changes in the rules to make sure workers are safe and compliant. Contact our team to request a comprehensive solution to your fall protection and safety needs.