Developing a strong fall protection program and a working environment focused on safety is a prudent business investment, directly contributing to enhanced worker safety, increased performance, higher productivity, and improved working conditions.
Workers’ lives depend on a comprehensive fall protection plan, the appropriate safety equipment, and proper training. Developing a culture of safety that sends employees a clear message that the company truly values their health and well-being should include these five key elements:
1.Develop a comprehensive written fall protection plan
A fall protection plan that is specific to the jobsite helps ensure that possible areas of risk and hazards have been addressed, the proper equipment and systems are in place to mitigate those hazards, employees have been trained on how to safely perform their work, and a rescue procedure has been outlined to facilitate fast and safe retrieval and recovery if a fall occurs.
An effective plan should be easily accessible to all personnel, reviewed and updated regularly to reflect industry changes and equipment enhancements, and delegate individuals’ responsibilities and maintenance.
2. Develop an appropriate rescue plan
The right rescue plan can make all the difference for a fallen worker. The plan should include specific steps about responding to a fall, monitoring a fallen worker, and transporting a fallen worker to a safe area.
Creating and implementing an effective rescue plan with the right equipment and properly trained workers can make a rescue after a fall much easier than most companies may believe. Proper training doesn’t necessarily require an extensive time investment. Depending on the rescue needs, a fall protection worker can be properly trained and proficient in just a few hours.
3. Assess the work zone and identify hazards
When developing a fall protection strategy, it’s crucial to perform a hazard analysis of the jobsite to uncover areas of high risk such as holes or leading edges, the number of employees using the area, and the height at which work is performed to determine the right kind of equipment and systems to prevent or mitigate fall hazards.