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.
Here is a good example of doing something half-way. Looks to me like they knew what to do, but didn’t do I completely correct. The end rails were on one side (although a little to far forward to adequately protect from falls) but they were not on the other side. Makes me wonder what else they did (or did not do).
Here is a link to OSHA’s current Fall Protection/Prevention Campaign. This site has some good tools and resources to assist you in promoting fall hazard awareness in construction. This is a joint effort from numerous safety organizations and regulatory agencies around the country.
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.
Fall Protection; always one of the most common violated standards and yet one of the most likely to cause serious harm. I took these photos as I was in line to get some food at a drive through establishment. I would consider this a high profile job in a busy shopping complex area. Makes you wonder sometimes what the project superintendent is doing.
OK, so in one of these photos the employee is tied off, but the supervisor is not and is walking all over the roof.
One of the other photos has an employee that is tied off but the rope grab is set at the end of the rope not doing him much good if he falls.
The other photo depicts an employee who was tied off but was getting ready for lunch so he disconnected at the peak of the roof to go have his food.
This illustrates a common problem in construction today; employees and supervisors know they need to have the equipment and wear it while on the job, but fail to do it properly because of laziness, lack of caring, or any other such excuse.
One thing that really sets me off is the display of poor safety behaviors in photos accompanying articles in national publications. I was reading the March 5th, 2012 edition of SI Golf and came across an article talking about what it takes to produce a golf tournament broadcast. The photo below is being used to describe workers constructing a camera tower platform to gain a better vantage point of the match. I’m sorry but this photo is telling people that this is the proper way to construct scaffolding. Does anyone else have an issue with this photo?
I guess my issue is in the fact that often times the media sends out information that is wrong or miscommunicates proper procedures with no regard as to the impact it may have on the receiving end. I see it all the time. So when you look at press releases or marketing materials your organization is sending out, ensure that the graphics are accurate and depict good safety practices. Train all your employees in safety and awareness (this includes office staff as well as field staff). If your marketing department doesn’t have at least a basic understanding of safe work practices, they could be making your job all the more difficult.
Just as a note I have seen OSHA inspectors pull up on a jobsite as a result of a flyer or photo they saw in the paper or received in the mail.
I love the ignorance of people sometimes (it’s why I have a job). Here is a retailer looking to promote some heavy duty construction clothing to potential customers. They want to illustrate that this clothing will hold up to extreme wear by construction personnel. I get this mentality, makes good marketing sense. Let’s show a person wearing our clothing while working on a frame building. However, they are also illustrating the fact that their climbing harness (for rock climbing) is adequate for use while performing this kind of work and sending the wrong message to those same customers. I get that they were probably trying to find a way to secure the mannequin to the structure, but they inadvertently (or perhaps it was a conscious thought) that climbing equipment is approved as fall protection in the construction trade. I guess my point is that I wish people would think before they act and consult some good professional advice if they have questions. This just irks me because of the mixed message and the improper use of equipment NOT designed for this type of use.