When setting up a fall prevention program for your business, first you should make yourself aware of OSHA rules regarding working at heights, as well as identifying problem spots within work areas before you create a written program.
The implementation of this sort of program needs to be understood and supported by all management levels as well as communicated clearly to every person affected by it. Goals and objectives for the plan need to be crystal clear.
Your written statement should address the hazards of falls at heights of 4 feet and above. Then it can describe the systematic approach that workers will take to prevent falls whether that’s eliminating the task, not performing it as often or using fall prevention equipment. If any employee fails to follow the safety procedures he/she will be subject to disciplinary action, which can include a verbal or written reprimand or immediate termination based on the seriousness of the circumstances.
In order to assess the workplace first look for ways to prevent a fall. After all it’s far better to prevent than arrest a fall. Your evaluation should detail the required steps for protecting employees from fall hazards around the workplace. A comprehensive list of fall hazard locations and preventive or protective measures should be maintained.
The next important step is training. It cannot be taken too seriously. All employees (and their managers) who will be exposed to fall hazards at any time on the job should go through a training program conducted by competent personnel.
The program should include:
- A description of fall hazards in the work area.
- Evaluation on eliminating these fall hazards.
- Procedures for using fall prevention and fall arrest with a focus on fall arrest equipment’s limitations.
- Inspection, maintenance and storage procedures for equipment.
Workers need to be able to recognize the dangers of falling from heights and how to avoid falls through openings in walking or working surfaces. This may sound elementary, but working at heights for any length of time gets routine just like any other job task, so reminding workers of the dangers of falls from heights is never a bad idea. Training programs should include elimination of the hazard, fall prevention, control and fall arrest. Employees should know how to use all equipment before they start their job.
During training your employees need the knowledge and skills required for the safe application and use of equipment. Written standard practice instructions can be handed out during training and must be read by all employees. Once an employee complete fall prevention training and has signed off that he/she has read and understands the standard practices, certification can be provided for each employee who completed training. Refresher training on a yearly or twice-yearly basis is also encouraged.
Whenever an employee changes job assignments, retraining should be provided. If there’s a change in the type of equipment used, or if a new hazard surfaces in the work environment, retraining will come in handy in these situations, too. Retraining can reestablish employee proficiency and introduce new or revised methods and procedures.
Carbis is a world leader in fall prevention. If your company is in need of a fall prevention plan or requires equipment for fall prevention, contact us today for more information on how we can help you keep employees safe and avoid injuries, medical costs, downtime and possibly death.