How To Manage Falls At Work
According to recent statistics, falls from heights and same-level falls are among the leading causes of work-related injuries. Falls from heights account for about 3.5% of work-related injuries, while same-level falls cause 17% of injuries. Such accidents can be severe and may sometimes lead to fatalities.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, injury rates, in general, have continuously reduced over the past few years. Experts attribute this trend to improvements in workplace safety measures. However, falls still make up a significant portion of work-related accidents today, especially in construction sites.
If you want to reduce the chances of this happening on your work site, read on to learn tips for managing falls at work.
- Identify Potential Hazards
The first step to managing falls at work is to conduct a risk assessment. Check for any factors that could cause accidents, then eliminate them. For instance, uneven surfaces, cluttered walkways, and slippery floors are potential hazards at a construction site. Such issues need to be identified and addressed before you start your project.Scaffolding is a common feature at construction sites, and it can be a potential hazard if not properly installed or maintained. Some of the hazards associated with scaffolding include unstable structures or defective components. Thus, when identifying potential hazards at your construction site, it’s important to carefully inspect the scaffolding to ensure that it is safe and secure for workers to use. Any issues with the scaffolding or its components, such as guard rails or scaffold brackets, should be addressed immediately to prevent accidents and injuries.
- Develop A Plan
Once you’ve identified potential hazards, you’ll need a strategy to help you mitigate the risks. It may involve implementing engineering controls, administrative controls, or a combination of both.Engineering controls are physical measures put in place to control hazards. For example, installing guard rails or non-slip surfaces may help prevent falls from occurring. You could also consider installing a safety net.
Administrative controls are policies and procedures put in place to control hazards. For example, providing training and information to employees on how to avoid falls can be effective. You could also implement a safety inspection program to ensure that equipment and facilities are regularly inspected and maintained.
When developing your plan, consider the specific hazards identified in the risk assessment, the type of work, and the equipment. For example, if employees are frequently working at heights using scaffolding, the plan should include specific measures to prevent falls from scaffolding.
The plan should also include clear procedures for reporting and addressing hazards. Encourage employees to report any hazards they observe. Make sure you have a system in place to address and correct hazards promptly.
- Train Employees
Workers who aren’t properly trained are more likely to be involved in accidents and suffer injuries as a result. It would be best to invest in comprehensive training programs that provide workers with the knowledge and skills they need to safely perform their work.
Training should be tailored to the specific needs of the workplace. It should cover topics such as hazard identification, safe work practices, and the proper use of tools and personal protective equipment (PPE). For example, you can train your workers to identify risks like unprotected edges, holes, and slippery surfaces, and take appropriate steps to mitigate those hazards.Another area to cover in your program is the importance of following established safety protocols. The team should understand that safety is a shared responsibility and that they play an important role in creating a safe work environment.
- Regularly Inspect And Maintain Equipment And Facilities
Keeping your equipment and facilities in good working condition is another crucial step in managing falls at work. Regular inspection allows you to identify and address potential hazards before they lead to accidents.
Here are some key aspects to consider:
- Scheduled inspections: Establish a schedule for regular inspections of equipment and facilities. This can include daily, weekly, monthly, or other periodic checks, depending on the nature of the equipment and workplace. Assign responsible individuals or a dedicated maintenance team to perform these inspections.
- Identify hazards: During inspections, pay close attention to potential hazards that could lead to falls on equipment such as residential scaffold. This can include damaged or worn-out equipment, loose handrails or guard rails, slippery surfaces, or any other conditions that may pose a risk. Promptly address and repair any identified hazards.
- Maintenance procedures: Develop maintenance procedures and protocols for equipment and facilities. This can involve routine cleaning, lubrication, calibration, or other specific tasks necessary for proper functioning and safety. Regularly review and update these procedures as needed.
- Record keeping: Maintain thorough records of equipment inspections, maintenance activities, and repairs. This documentation can help track the condition of equipment, identify recurring issues, and demonstrate compliance with safety regulations.
- Staff training: Ensure that employees responsible for equipment inspections and maintenance are properly trained. They should be familiar with the inspection protocols, hazard identification, and the appropriate steps to address any issues discovered during inspections.When hazards or issues are identified during inspections, prioritize and promptly address them. Repair or replace damaged equipment, fix faulty handrails, and address any other issues to eliminate potential fall hazards.
Developing a safety culture is vital to promoting a safe working environment. As a leader, you must demonstrate your commitment to the course by setting clear expectations and allocating resources. When you prioritize work safety, it sends a powerful message to employees that their well-being is valued.Additionally, involving employees at all levels is vital in creating inclusivity in your strategy. Encourage every individual to participate in safety programs, provide input on safety measures, and report any safety concerns. You can enhance their involvement by establishing safety committees and conducting regular safety meetings.
Another important aspect to consider in your safety culture is proper communication. Provide effective communication channels where workers can air their concerns and report any incidents. Use this opportunity to also gather suggestions from different teams on how you can improve their safety.
Managing falls at work is an ongoing process. Therefore, you must regularly review and update safety procedures to ensure that they remain effective. It includes conducting regular risk assessments, updating safety procedures as necessary, and providing ongoing training to employees. Doing this will reduce any recurring accidents and make your workplace free from hazards.
Falls are among the most common accidents in any construction site, and they can sometimes be fatal. Fortunately, you can implement the tips from this article to minimize fall-related injuries. Identify potential hazards, train your employees, create a safety culture, and review your strategies regularly. But as you implement all these, you should also ensure that your workers know that safety is everyone’s responsibility.