Falling down is one of the most preventable causes of death and devastating injury on the job today. Construction workers are probably at the most risk, but gravity can get anybody at any time. These accidents affect families, business owners and society in general.
To help reduce the costs of these injuries in the workplace the Center for Disease Control through many of its divisions and partners have established National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction Week.
The program offers materials and assistance for employers and other groups to conduct toolbox talks or other activities to help educate people about the dangers of falls in the workplace and how to avoid them.
The CDC provides posters to remind employees and others of the causes and best fall protection practices to avoid injury. They have made a great number of videos available on fall prevention for specific occupational activities to be used in safety training meetings. A certificate of participation can be obtained to show that the training has been conducted and help remind everyone of the efforts.
This is a very important mission because these deaths and injuries cost business owners, the Healthcare System, and taxpayers millions of dollars. Even worse they cause trauma to families and drastically reduce the quality of life and ability to earn an income for people. A simple fall due to a wet floor or loose debris can lead to lifelong pain and disability. Falls from ladders, big equipment, and high building construction lead to the most devastating of outcomes.
There are many reasons falls occur in the workplace. Here are some items to pay close attention to:
- Shoes can make a big difference.
- Architectural defects, debris, and disorganized stock can often pose tripping hazards.
- Use the right ladder, and use it right. Ladder Saftey »
- Big equipment usually has very specific footsteps and hand holds with detailed instructions for climbing in and out.
- In construction, life-saving fall safety equipment is often either worn out, misused, or not used at all.
In addition to the tools, equipment, and building hazards, safety training must emphasize the importance of taking the extra time to work safely.
Rushing causes accidents and more delays. Fall protection education must also teach everyone to continuously assess the safety of the work environment and address issues immediately.
An effective fall safety program must enforce rules for the use of safety equipment where necessary to avoid the stubborn tendency to work without it due to complaints of comfort or performance constraints.
Complacency is another necessary topic for safety training meetings. It’s often a good idea to get fresh eyes from another department or somebody outside of the workplace to come in and look for hazards that may get overlooked.
Simple evaluation practices like this can lead to great benefits for injury prevention.