Occupational hazards are a serious aspect employers must consider. Many safety applications exist to protect workers from harm, including death. It may surprise you to learn that for Michigan workers, the most frequent cause of death for 2017 was due to falls. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, reported falls as the most common cause of work-related deaths for 2016 nationwide, which was 38.7% of all deaths reported.
This may bring to mind the image of a construction worker or roofer falling from a high structure. In reality, falls from less than 6 feet can also cause serious injury. Construction workers are at the highest risk for fatal falls, but falls can happen in any job.
Falls are 100% preventable with the use of fall protection systems at the worksite. Typical systems include Guardrail Systems and Toe-boards, Floor Hole Covers that are clearly marked and fastened down, and Personal Fall Arrest Systems worn by workers. Worksites must be free of hazards that can cause punctures or snag clothing. Guardrails and handrails installed above stairs at standard heights, with walkways and stairways kept clear, will help prevent falls and tripping.
Personal Fall Arrest Systems can be worn by workers and used to safely stop a worker who is falling from a working level. The system includes an anchorage, body harness, connectors, and other features. Please read all manufacture instructions and always follow them when using a Personal Fall Arrest System.
All safety equipment should be inspected prior to each use for wear, damage, and other deterioration. Employees must also be trained in fall safety, with a competent person held responsible for recognizing potential fall hazards and inspecting the worksite and safety equipment.
Recognizing all fall hazards and addressing them immediately will help keep the worksites safe and free of injury this summer.