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Fall Protection Guidelines and Best Practices

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Building a new facility or headquarters for your company is an exciting but large task. The planning involved takes months, and whether you’re an employer, a CEO, or the building manager, your job is to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

OSHA requires fall protection for any worker who may be exposed to a fall of four feet or more from at-height working, or from open edges. OSHA has also prioritized ladder fall protection specifically, as injuries and fatalities from ladder falls are some of the most common workplace accidents.

Here’s a reminder of worker rights:

  • Workers are entitled to a safe and healthful workplace.
  • Workers have a right to know about hazardous chemicals.
  • Workers have a right to file a complaint with OSHA.
  • Workers have a right to be free from retaliation for exercising safety and health rights

Construction Fatal Four

Data from 2018 suggests the top 4 fatalities reported on construction sites (excluding transportation) are:

  1. Falls – falls from roof, ladders, scaffolding (most fatalities are the result of falls from between 11 feet and 20 feet)
  2. Struck by object – flying objects from power tools, falling tools or material knocked off an unprotected edge, swinging radius of crane, rolling into or over by heavy equipment
  3. Electrocutions – for electrical workers – electrical equipment and wiring; for non-electrical workers – contact with overhead power lines by heavy equipment
  4. Caught in/between – caught in or compressed by equipment or objects, stuck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment or material

What are My Fall Protection Responsibilities as an Owner?

With a Managed Fall Protection Program, you are committing to providing a safe work environment for all employees working at heights and exposed to fall hazards. Penalties for not following OSHA regulations can be severe, and employers who have never been inspected by OSHA can still be found liable in civil court if they fail to observe OSHA requirements.

As an employer, you’re obligated to:

  • Be aware of hazards to your own employees
  • Be aware of hazards to other employees not created by tenant or contractor
  • Disclose known hazards like asbestos, mold, and lead
  • Have permanent fall protection and davits

Eliminate, Prevent, Control and Warn

Remember: your obligation as an owner, property manager, architect, planner, or engineer is to incorporate safe design measures to eliminate, prevent, or otherwise control fall hazards in the design phase.

To eliminate any fall hazards, working from the ground or locating equipment in interstitial space is the most effective. Preventing falls using guardrails, covers, barriers, and flat surfaces is also effective. Least effective but still viable options are using fall arrest and nets (not a cure all, as everything must work perfectly to prevent fatality), and finally warning, which is essentially no protection and relying on worker behavior and human nature only.

Trust Innovative Engineering Inc. to Provide Efficient Fall Protection

We’re a trusted resource of facility owners and managers of all sizes, including those with the nation’s largest real estate portfolios. We strive to be a true partner to our clients, providing them with honest assessments, and more importantly, sound solutions.

“Innovative Engineering Inc. (IEI) has been a trusted resource for our structural and parking garage repair and restoration needs for several years. I have personally worked with the firm as long ago as 2001. We have found IEI to be very responsive and easy to work with. Their work has been accurate, thorough, on time, and within budget. We look forward to continuing our relationship with them.”  – Sarah Peek, Emory University Hospital Midtown

Contact us today for our expert advice and knowledge about fall protection, façade inspection, roof inspection, anti-terrorism force protection, and more. Our experts are standing by to help you!

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