Falls from heights are one of the most common causes of accidents in the workplace and are the leading cause of construction worker fatalities. Fall Protection for Construction is also the number one most frequently cited standard by Federal OSHA. The accidents related to falls that occur often result in serious injuries or death. Although this type of work is dangerous, the hazards associated with it can be lessened by:

  • Choosing the right equipment for the work
  • Ensuring the equipment is used properly
  • Inspecting the equipment regularly to ensure that it is going to function properly when needed

Leading causes

One of the leading causes of fall-related injuries is not inspecting equipment prior to using it. This commonly skipped step, required by Cal/OSHA is important as it serves as the worker’s final check to make sure that the system is going to function properly. If your employees are required to wear   personal fall protection equipment, it is important that you develop formal policies requiring:

  • Equipment inspection prior to use
  • Equipment inspection semi-annually by a qualified person
  • Training for your employees on how to conduct these essential inspections

To ensure your employees are following your formal policies and conducting inspections, random audits should be performed. When you are auditing your employees’ equipment inspection process, make sure:

  • That they inspect each component of the fall protection system, i.e. the anchor, the lanyard, and the harness.
  • They always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and your company’s policies for equipment storage, maintenance, and cleaning.
  • Any defective equipment is identified and removed from service immediately. Equipment considered defective should be destroyed or marked as being unusable.

The hazards associated with working at heights can be very serious and pose a life-threatening risk to your employee’s health and well-being when not mitigated. The risk can be mitigated when employees conduct inspections of their fall protection equipment prior to using it. This simple and quick task helps confirm that the equipment is ready to protect your employee.