Safety Tips

Fall Protection

Fact: Falls are the number one killer in construction.

Fact: You do not have to fall far to be killed or injured.

Before work starts, what should I do?

A hazard assessment recognizing fall hazards must be conducted prior to the start of the project. The hazard assessment shoud address the following:

People
Environment
Materials
Equipment

What are some fall hazards? Typical fall hazards identified in a hazard assessment include but are not limited to:

Elevated work platforms
Roofing
Framing
Exposed edges
Structural steel erection

What is my next step?

If the project determines, during the hazard assessment phase, that workers may be exposed to fall then a fall protection plan must be developed to ensure these hazards are eliminated or controlled.

If a worker at a worksite can fall 3 metres or more and is not protected by guardrails, the employer must develop a Fall Protection Plan that specifies:

The fall hazard
The fall protection to be used (including worker training)
Procedures used to assemble, maintain, inspect, use, and disassemble the fall protection system
Worker rescue procedures
That the Fall Protection Plan is available before the work begins

How do we prevent falls?

By simply applying good safe work practices and procedures when working above or below ground levels where fall protection is required. Also, selecting the right fall protection equipment for the job.

What are the two basic types?

Travel Restraint
Fall Arrest

Travel Restraint System:

A travel restraint system keeps you from getting too close to an unprotected edge. Also, a full body harness is recommended for this work activity. Travel restraint systems are used where fall arrest is impractical.

Fall Arrest System:

A fall arrest system consists of a full body harness, a shock absorbing lanyard, and an anchor.

Anchorage Point:

Whether you are using travel restraint or fall arrest your lifeline must be adequately anchored. Fall arrest anchorage must be able to support 22.2 kilonewtons.

Would you gamble with your life?

A lot of people do that when they fail to inspect their personal fall arrest equipment daily. They gamble that the equipment will save their life if they fall.

The equipment is subject to tremendous loads during a fall so always follow manufacturer's recommendations when inspecting your equipment. Here are several things to look for:

Frayed edges, broken fibers, burn marks, deterioration, and other visible signs of damage to the nylon webbing on body harnesses
Check rings and buckles for damage
Inspect all rivets and grommets for deformity
Check lanyards and shock absorbers for damage
Read and understand the manufacturer's operators manual and decals

Remember: If you find any of these conditions during you inspection, do not use the equipment. If in doubt, contact your supervisor.

Ten Commandments for the Users of Fall Arrest Systems (FAS)

Thou shalt inspect thy equipment before every use.
Thou shalt don and adjust thy harness properly.
Thou shalt use thy shock absorber or thy shock absorbing lanyard whenever possible.
Thou shalt connect all components of FAS using only the compatible connecting hardware.
Thou shalt attach thy FAS only to a suitable anchorage.
Thou shalt remember to keep thy fall distance to a minimum.
Thou shalt consider the conditions of thy workplace when choosing the equipment for thyself.
Thou shalt care for equipment like thou carest for thyself.
Thou shalt not use a FAS without knowing the rescue equipment and procedure in case thou shouldest fall.
Thou shalt not use any fall protection equipment without proper training.

Only motor vehicle accidents kill more people than accidents in the home. The leading cause of accidental deaths and disabling injuries in the home is falls. You and your loved ones may profit greatly from checking

your habits at home. Here are some of the sort of things you should check as potential slip, trip, and fall hazards.

Outside

Do we return yard/garden tools to their storage rack after each use? Yes ___ No ___

Do we fill in yard holes and repair broken walks? Yes ___ No ___

Do we follow safety practices when using ladders? Yes ___ No ___

Garage/Workshop/Basement/Utility rooms

Do we clean up spills promptly? Yes ___ No ___

Do we have well lighted work areas? Yes ___ No ___

Living room/Family room/Bedroom

Do we have hallways and heavy traffic areas well lighted? Yes ___ No ___

Do we keep traffic areas and exits clean of tripping hazards? Yes ___ No ___

Bathroom/Kitchen

Do we use nonskid mats, decals, or textured surfaces in tub/showers? Yes ___ No ___

Do we habitually use a step stool or utility ladders when getting at high light fixtures, cupboards, or shelves? Yes ___ No ___

Stairways

Do we have well lighted stairs with switches at the top and bottom? Yes ___ No ___

Do we avoid using stairways for storage of objects? (i.e., shoes) Yes ___ No ___

Congratulations if your answers were "Yes." Now work on the others. The life and well-being of a loved one may depend on it.

For more information, refer to current applicable Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.