Topic for August 2, 1999)
Accidents caused by slips, trips, and falls are too
common. In 1997 there were 715
deaths caused by falls at work. Additionally, OSHA's fall protection standard was
number two on the list of most frequently cited standards last year. You have
control over the likelihood of falls on this jobsite. That means that you have to
responsibility for your safety and the safety of your co-workers. Let's discuss
situations that can cause fall-related injuries.
- Simple tripping hazards caused by tools and material
left lying on the floor.
These hazards are bad enough in the middle of a room, they can cause a
disaster near stairs or floor openings.
- Using the wrong ladder, a defective ladder, or using the right ladder the wrong
way. Choose the right ladder, inspect it, and then use it correctly.
- Slippery floor conditions caused by spills, water, ice, mud, or even
protective floor coverings. Pay attention to your surroundings and clean
up spills immediately.
- Using boxes, crates, or a stack of scrap instead of a ladder or scaffold. Use the
right "tool" for the job never use a makeshift ladder or scaffold.
- Working above the ground or too close to an edge or opening without
a fall protection system. Confidence is no substitute for proper precautions.
- Getting on and off equipment. Always mount and dismount the equipment like
you're supposed to, and keep all foot- and hand-holds clean.
- Hitching rides on equipment or trucks that are not designed to carry passengers.
Never hitch a ride, even for a short distance.
- Running on stairs, or skipping them all together by jumping. Take one step at
a time, and use the handrail.
In each of these situations, you could eliminate, or at least drastically
fall hazard. We have discussed some of the generalities of fall protection. OSHA
has very specific standards covering fall protection systems and when they must
be used. These details can be found in Subpart M of OSHA's standards starting
with 29 CFR 1926.500.
||Falls occur at home too, and
are just as serious. Be safe everywhere, not
just at work.