Broken bones. Ruptured organs. Traumatic brain injuries. These devastating effects are common for the lucky survivors of falls from roofs, scaffolding, and other worksite heights. Pain, surgery, rehab, and possible disabilities await many survivors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14% of all fatal worksite injuries were due to falls from height. These falls can have far-reaching effects for families, businesses, and communities. And they can be prevented with proper planning and implementation of a safety plan. The most common causes of falls require different solutions and plans for effective prevention.
Spills, Hazards, and Maintenance
It takes a small spill to initiate a slip and fall. If that spill is at height, it can spell disaster. Marking all wet areas and cleaning up spills of any sort is incredibly important. Slips and falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries in the USA. Trips contribute to the same issues. Common hazards for slips, trips, and falls include:
- Wet floors and spills
- Damaged or uneven walking surfaces
- Tools or debris left scattered about
- Poorly lit areas
- Poor floor coverings and mats
An injury due to a slip and fall can commonly cost employers over $40,000 for each injury. More extensive injuries can costs employers millions of dollars. Implementing better maintenance and housekeeping plans will reduce the risk of injuries due to these oversights. Taking the time to complete a thorough walkthrough identifying problem areas in your store, warehouse, or business location can be eye-opening. Use those insights to update your maintenance plan, retrain workers, and complete renovations if needed.
Trips, Grips, and Breakthrough
Working at height on roofs presents more specialized hazards for workers. These include:
- Trips – Tripping on a roof can spell disaster for workers. Any sort of roll or fall can spill them off the roof and toward devastating injuries. Exposed nails, loose cords and tools, and missteps can contribute to trips.
- Poor Grips – A slip on an industrial roof walkway or set of stairs can be very dangerous. These can be prevented with proper grip tape or specialized walkways installation. Standardizing footwear requirements as well will help prevent this sort of slip.
- Breakthroughs – Falling through a weak or overloaded roof can occur. Properly testing roof capacities and providing safe methods for traveling on a roof in need of repair is important for this prevention.
- Edge Awareness – If a worker doesn’t know how close they are to the roof’s edge or a skylight, they may be one step away from harm. A strong safety training program and regular employee recertification can help avoid this damage.
The most dangerous threat to your workers’ health is your workers. It takes only one misstep to cause a catastrophic injury. One moment of poor judgment or lax decision making. Risky behaviors, such as stepping backward while on a roof or rushing from point to point can be signs of a worker you need to retrain. Remaining aware of your position and surroundings at all times is crucial to safe work at heights. While useful fall protection systems and other safety solutions offer some protection, combining them with disciplined expert work is the only way to reduce the number of these tragic injuries we see every year.
A combination of safety solutions, their expert implementation, and an effective training program is the best way to keep your employees safe. Contact us for a consultation in preventing slips and falls at your site.