I often find that the reason most people don’t implement a good fall protection program, or are out of compliance is not because of a lack of knowledge, but an ignorance as to what equipment is available to assist in their fall protection needs. They may, or may not, perform a fall or hazard assessment, but once the hazard is identified they didn’t know how or what to use to help. The following are some examples of specialized equipment designed to help comply with the various fall hazards in construction.
Be sure to read the manufacture instructions for installation procedures and application requirements prior to use. If the system fails, where does the liability fall if the system is not installed properly? Use the right tool for the application to ensure adequate fall protection is in place.
I find it frustrating when people know what to do, but only halfway do it. Take this photo for example. The guy put his outriggers down, and he used some blocking under the foot pad however, he could have used a better placement of the pad. He is not utilizing the weight distribution as well as he could. Not that this will result in an accident nor does it necessarily violate a safety rule, but it does reflect on the culture and attitudes of him and his company.
I want to emphasize the importance of conducting equipment inspections. Our employees rely on various types of equipment to get their job done efficiently and safely and it is our job as the safety professional to ensure that they have the right tools and training to get the job done, but how often have you pulled up on a jobsite and found the equipment you provided them in a state of disrepair? I found this to be true with my service department and the ladders on their vehicles. Ladders are a tools that is commonly used and imperative to get many jobs done. However, these highly useful tools are often left on top of the vehicle and subjected to sun, weather, road conditions, and other forms of distress. It’s not just a matter of training your employees on how to conduct a good ladder inspection, but to hold them accountable to following through on these inspections. What do your ladders look like?
Here is one for you, forklift maintenance. This company had an old forklift that needed a new battery cover/seat cover so they found some scrap particle board and made something up. I am not sure if this was the best choice of materials.
While conducting a training session on OSHA inspections and what to expect, a coworker of mine pointed out that OSHA will often watch the news and read the paper to see what is going on around town. If they see something not quite right they can and will show up on your job for an inspection. Well since this training class was out of town, I went back to my hotel room to put my feet up and grabbed the local paper. Guess what I saw on the front page?
Now I don’t know about you but, I see a few OSHA violations in this front page photo. If I were an OSHA compliance officer I would be pretty psyched about making a visit to this contractor. Hey front page news is prime pickings.
Something to think about as you work on projects or put out advertisements and mailings. Is the photo doing your company justice or could it cause harm? OSHA can read and they will follow up on something that appears to be hazardous or puts employee in harms way.
Ok, so I found these workers putting up a sign next to the restaurant I was having lunch at. As it is in my DNA, I had to stop and say something about their ladder placement. When I first pulled up they had the ladder about two feet from the bottom of the roof parapet and were accessing the roof from there. They obviously had more room on the ladder for extension but did not know or failed to follow the requirements. This is how I found them after my lunch and after I had talked to them about the 3′ rule.