When it comes to the safety of your team, fall protection is essential to the safe operation of any work site. The majority of serious work injuries due to falls could easily be prevented through the use of fall arrest anchor systems. Not only can these save your team from serious injury and even death, but they can also protect your company from liability too. There are minimum safety standards that always need to be met on any construction site, there are however a few myths out there about fall protection.
1. The 6-foot rule
This is the idea that if you are 6 feet from the edge of a building then no fall protection is needed. It is essential that guardrails, nets and other essential fall protection measures be in place at all times. This myth has been around for many years and can lead to a blase attitude to fall protection. Even the slightest mistake when no fall protection measures are in place can lead to a very serious incident and even the death of one of your employees.
2. Each piece of equipment has a standard life expectancy
There is no accurate length of time that any fall protection system will be unsuitable for use. It really depends on how well maintained and how often it is used. The best and only way to know for sure that the equipment that you’re using is safe is to ensure that it is inspected regularly and well cared for. It is also advised that after a fall, the system be replaced as the tension in the fall may have damaged it.
If you are unsure over the maintenance, storage or inspection requirements of each individual piece of fall protection equipment then you should make sure that you get in touch with the manufacturer. They will be able to help you to understand exactly what you need to do to ensure that your equipment is working perfectly when your team needs it most.
3. Step ladders don’t need any protection
When using portable ladders it is vital that fall protection is used and that everyone who is on site is aware of the person on the ladder. The team member on the ladder will also need to not overreach and keep 3 points of contact on the ladder at all times. If you are unsure of exactly what you need your team to be doing when they are working above ground level then it is very important that you speak with an expert in fall protection so that you’re doing everything that you can to prevent an accident.
This attitude to small heights can lead to accidents. The assumption that the fall is not too great so the injury potential is minimal is very dangerous. It only takes a fall from a couple of feet to do some real damage.
4. Your only option is to call 911
When you are reviewing your fall protection procedures you should also ensure that there is a plan in place to rescue someone that has fallen. If they are properly trained, they may even be able to rescue themselves. If this is not an option due to the height of the fall or injury sustained, then it is vital that every member of your team is fully aware of the rescue plans that you have in place for every eventuality. There should also be no hesitation to call 911 if the emergency services are required. You should make sure that each and every one of your team is aware of this.