Make 2021 the Year of Indoor Fall Safety at Your Facility
With so many ups and downs, the disruptions of 2020 have left many operations and their employees unfocused and out of the familiar flow of a structured routine. Too often, this leads to a lack of attentiveness and attention as companies work towards a “new normal.” This uncertainty can’t be allowed to decrease awareness and compliance with regards to minimizing any workplace hazard, particularly indoor fall safety.
Protecting workers within industrial or commercial facilities remains the highest priority in 2021 and beyond. Providing safer working environments results in fewer accidents, less occupational health costs, less employee downtime, less retraining time, and better employee retention and satisfaction.
This article discusses the great need for OSHA fall protection and points out the ways companies can keep their facilities safe both for employees and visitors in 2021.
Fall Protection: Why is it Important?
Protecting workers from falls is a crucial safety measure that every company needs to practice. Did you know that falls are a significant cause of workplace injuries that attract up to $70 billion in compensation and medical costs annually? Companies have an urgent and constant need to implement OSHA fall protection guidelines on and around elevated workstations like mezzanines, loading docks, overhead platforms, and more.
To protect workers fully and remain compliant with OSHA standards, companies must ensure the presence and proper use of the OSHA-compliant workplace safety devices such as:
- Passive Fall Protection, including Guardrails, Ladder Guards, and Equipment Guarding
- Active Fall Protection, including Harnesses, Lanyards, and Lifelines
- Specialized Gates, including Access Control Gates and Indoor Safety Gates
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg; there’s more to workplace safety than the mere installation of the devices. The big question is this – How can companies keep their facilities safe and guarantee indoor fall safety using the devices mentioned above? Let’s take a closer look at how to uphold employee indoor fall safety in risk areas like loading docks, stairways, ladders, and more.
Train Employees Adequately
Providing your employees with the right safety training is, undoubtedly, one of the most critical fall protection measures a company can undertake. Without adequate training, investing in the best indoor safety gates and systems doesn’t add much value.
Awareness and training are critical in enabling teams to have a basic understanding and personal appreciation of fall dangers. What’s more, they get to learn how to utilize safety equipment like a metal swing gates, lifeline kits, and guardrails appropriately.
What are you doing to ensure that everyone within the company knows the correct safety practices and how to uphold them? Workers performing high-risk tasks and those working on specific equipment should undergo proper training. Employees should also be kept updated through sufficient training when a new work process, OSHA fall protection regulation, or piece of machinery gets introduced.
Further, it’s almost impossible to retain all information from a single training session. Periodic re-training to keep employees updated and refresh their knowledge is essential. This also allows employees to air any bottlenecks or probable hazards so you can mold the right solutions to overturn them safely.
Preventing Falls in the Stairways
Stairways are among the busiest areas of any organization. Employees usually move up and down stairs hastily, carrying heavy loads of materials making them unable to see what’s ahead of them. And obstacles like cables, boxes, and cords can cause severe accidents in such scenarios if less attention is paid.
The need to keep these areas clean, dry, and clutter-free as a fundamental fall protection measure is well documented in the OSHA regulations. You can easily prevent accidents or falls in such areas by implementing the following steps:
- Sweeping up loose items like cords and files on the floor to avoid tripping over them while carrying heavy materials.
- If the walkways, stairways, and aisles are prone to wetness, you should install a proper drainage system and provide dry platforms, like mats, where employees can walk comfortably.
- Install industrial safety products like a metal swing gate and rails to uphold workers’ indoor fall safety as they walk down the stairways and approach each platform or opening.
- Ensure the treads are uniform throughout the stairway to guide visitors and workers on how to ascend or descend the stairways safely and effortlessly.
- Inspect the stairways, walkways, and aisles regularly to uncover potential risk areas.
Sufficient Lighting to Prevent Falls
Poor lighting is another major cause of slip and fall accidents in most organizations. Keeping the workplaces well-lit does more than just improving fall protection; it prevents eye fatigue and headaches too. And it’s not just about installing lighting systems in the company; you should ensure that the kind of illumination corresponds to the task being performed.
For instance, if your company deals with paint manufacturing or mixing (where accurate color judgment is critical), natural sunlight or full-spectrum lighting may be needed to decide the paint’s correct shade. In other words, optimal lighting for fall protection requires that you get the right balance between natural sunlight and artificial sources that will uphold workers’ health and safety while minimizing production costs.
Investing in Appropriate Fall Protection Systems
Industries like manufacturing plants, food processing, gas/oil, logistics, and higher education usually face various fall risks as they integrate different sectors. As such, practicing safety measures like training personnel, guarding ladderways, or installing indoor safety gates and rails may not be enough.
Safety facility managers also need to provide employees with the right personal protective equipment (PPE) and fall protection gear. These may include a properly placed metal safety gate, guardrails, scaffolds, body harnesses, movable platforms, retractable lifelines, fall arrest systems, ladders, and more.
Furthermore, the PPE must undergo a thorough inspection (by competent and trained personnel) before, during, and after every use. Workers must also undergo sufficient training on using the protection systems, remediating a hazard, and executing a rescue plan if a risk occurs.
So it all boils down to training employees adequately, investing in the right fall protection systems, lighting the facility sufficiently, and keeping the stairways and walkways clutter-free and clean. Implement these indoor fall safety best practices, and you’ll bid goodbye to unnecessary workflow disruptions and costly compensations and medical costs for employee injuries.
The ball’s now in your court. By investing in the best industrial safety products, you can rest assured your employees’ workplace safety will be optimized for improved productivity and satisfaction in the new year. Here at Fabenco, we specialize in manufacturing high-quality safety gates to help companies provide OSHA fall protection, traffic management, access control, machine guarding, and more. Contact us today to help ensure your workers’ safety throughout 2021 and beyond.