Worksite Fall Safety Starts With Right Equipment, Training

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All employers want to keep their workers safe. A focus on security, safety, and always being protected on a job site is incredibly important for companies that have employees who regularly need to work on scaffolding or other places where height is a concern. The use of smart, efficient safety equipment (along with fall arrest training) can make a tremendous difference.

Round Slings and Much More

The language used in this area of worker safety sounds almost like something out of an era of tall ships and sailors. There are rigging supplies, marine ropes, round slings, wire rope, hook rigging, and more to think through. The equipment, however, is only one part of what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) focuses on when it looks at fall prevention. Providing the right equipment needs to be matched with good training to prevent falls and safety planning.

The requirements for fall protection equipment, according to OSHA regulations, come in to play at what some may consider relatively small elevations. In most workplaces, a worker doing his or her job four feet off the ground needs effective protection. Construction, shipyard, and longshoring operations have slightly higher minimums that vary from five to eight feet. In any case, there are two major ways to prevent fall injuries. The first is netting, which can be placed around a job site. The second is individual or personal equipment, such as lifelines. Either of the two types helps to deal with how quickly a person can find him or herself at risk. In just two-thirds of a second a person can plummet more than six feet.

Equipment Built to Last

Over time, the durability of fall safety equipment has been enhanced and regulated. For example, national testing standards from OSHA now require that all fall arrest systems should be able to handle more than a 295-pound weight. Also, for personal equipment, an anchorage for a one-person tie of point must be able to support more than two tons of weight. And metallic-core wire rope slings are manufactured for use in temperatures ranging from -40 to more than 350 degrees F. All slings (lifting slings, web slings, round slings) should be regularly inspected, especially during times of heavy use, as well.

All of what goes into minimizing the dangers from falls is time and effort well spent. A person who is confident that he or she is safe on the job is a more effective employee. For companies, keeping workers safe is simply the right thing to do.

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