Friday, September 2, 2016

Falls to a Lower Level

Slips, trips, and falls are consistently one of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ top rated causes of workplace injury across the country. Recently MN OSHA’s Brian Zaidman published an article in the July Issue of their Safety Lines Newsletter (page 7) outlining the statistics for “falls to a lower level”.

Due to the nature of the reporting, the numbers being used are from 2014, but they show that falls to a lower level are on the rise. That means it’s time to review best practices for working from heights with everyone in your shop. Maybe list all the tasks you perform that would require someone to work from an elevated height. Some of the key safety requirements to remember when it comes to fall protection are:

·       Fall protection is required for all heights at or above 4ft from the ground. This doesn’t seem very high, but if you fall the wrong way from this height, it is still enough to break a bone or cause a serious injury.

·       Fall Protection is required when working around unprotected edges of open sided floor,  platforms, and runways greater than 4 feet above the floor or lower level.

·       Fall protection is required along the side of dangerous hazards such as vats, tanks, and dangerous equipment or similar hazard regardless of height where a worker could fall in to the hazard.


Another interesting breakdown from the article is the occupational groups with the highest estimated rate of injury from falls to a lower level. As you can see in Figure 3 from the article, the highest rates belong to workers who are performing: construction and extraction; transportation and material moving; and installation, maintenance and repair. These are all things where public works’ employees may find themselves involved, so be extra cautious and make sure you are being safe while working from heights.

If you have any questions regarding working from heights, or need assistance in finding a way to do so safely, feel free to give your Loss Control Consultant a call - they will be happy to help!

By: Cody Tuttle, Loss Control Representative


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