Commercial construction job sites can be dangerous places to work, with people facing the risk of falls from ladders, scaffolding, and other elevated surfaces. Taking steps to reduce falls on a commercial job site will keep the people working and your bottom line much healthier. Consider the following:
- According to OSHA, more construction workers were killed by falls in the last 12 months than by any other safety hazard
- The lack of appropriate training, awareness, written safety plans, and use of approved fall protection equipment by workers and their employers are the primary factors
- Fall protection citations typically carry a mandatory Serious Violation designation and sometimes a Willful Violation designation, which can result in big fines.
As construction management professionals, it’s essential to ensure accident prevention is taken seriously to prevent avoidable injuries.
In this article, we share 6 practical ways to reduce falls on a commercial job site. By implementing these strategies, you will help keep the people on your job site healthy and safe, leading to high performance and profitability levels.
Here are six practical steps you can take to reduce falls on your job sites:
Provide Fall Prevention Training
The best way to protect the people working on your job sites from falls is to provide them with proper training. Workers should understand the risks associated with commercial job sites and know how to identify and avoid falling hazards. They should also be familiar with the necessary safety equipment and know how to use it in an emergency. Additionally, your organization and any contractors working on your projects should provide regular refresher courses on job site safety to ensure workers remain vigilant of their surroundings.
Adhere to OSHA Fall Protection Guidelines
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has detailed guidelines for commercial job sites related to falling hazards. Click here to download this OSHA fall protection resource and familiarize yourself with these rules and follow them closely to keep your job sites as safe as possible.
Monitor the Job Site for Hazards
It’s essential to pay attention to the ground and other surfaces people are working on, as well as the job site as a whole.
Wet surfaces can be slippery, uneven surfaces should always be avoided, and it’s important to never work in areas with overhead power lines, water pipes, or other safety risks.
Equip Your Team with Quality Fall Protection Equipment
Fall protection equipment is required for any situation where a worker is elevated 6’ or above ground level.
This equipment includes harnesses, lanyards, anchor points, guardrails, and more. Ensure your employees and contractors receive the proper training and understand how to use fall protection equipment properly before working on a project.
It’s also essential to conduct routine inspections of fall protection equipment used. Look for signs of wear and tear or damage that may compromise the security of the equipment, like frayed lanyards and broken buckles. If any issues are found, replace the faulty items immediately.
Use Ladders Properly
Ladders should always be placed on a stable surface before use, and any ladder over 20 feet high must have a cage or guard. All personnel should also be trained on how to climb and descend ladders and how to carry tools and materials while using them. This is fairly basic, common sense information, but when it is overlooked, or a person becomes too confident, mistakes and injuries are much more likely to happen.
Utilize Scaffolding When Possible
Working from heights is inherently dangerous; however, people working on your projects can minimize their risk by utilizing scaffolding whenever possible. We recommend creating a specific Scaffold Safety Plan when using scaffolding on a project.
Action Steps Reduce Falls on a Commercial Job Site
By following these six practical fall prevention tips and adhering to OSHA guidelines, your organization can drastically reduce its risk of falls on job sites.
With a strong commitment to safety, commercial projects can be completed with minimal risks and optimal results.