Fall Protection Programs Help to Prevent Worker Injuries and Fatalities

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Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

ABIH® reminds workers and industry of the need to protect employees from fall hazards and other dangerous conditions.

Lansing, MI -- According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. They are also a common cause for costly noncompliance penalties against employers that have failed to follow fall protection requirements. In fact, just a few months ago, OSHA announced proposed penalties of over $1.5 million after a Florida roofing contractor repeatedly failed to protect its workers from the risks of dangerous falls and other hazards at two work sites.

To prevent employees from being injured from falls, OSHA requires that employers must:

  • Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk.
  • Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
  • Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment, employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
  • Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety harnesses and lines, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails. 

“OSHA fall protection requirements vary slightly from general industry, shipyards, construction and longshoring operations,” said David Roskelley, CIH® and Chair of ABIH®. “Elevations that require fall protection start at just four feet in general industry workplaces, but don’t begin in longshoring operations until eight feet. Regardless of the industry, Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs) are uniquely qualified professionals best suited to implement and manage fall protection programs in all types of occupational settings. These dedicated professionals are trained to help ensure a safe work environment through their knowledge of industrial processes, health risk analysis, hazard communication and a number of other core competencies.”

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