Fall protection has been an area of much concern for safety professionals and business managers over the last decade, as slip-and-falls in the workplace account for the majority of work-related accidents. In fact, three of the top ten most common workplace accidents are related to falls. As a result of this high statistic, major players in fall prevention and fall protection are taking charge to increase safety awareness and develop training programs through OSHA and other government agencies in attempts to lower the potential risks.
For many years, OSHA enforced fall protection rules and regulations for construction and manufacturing companies that required the purchase and implementation of fall protection equipment when workers are 3 feet above the ground. Although the implementation of protective gear is proactive towards the health and safety of workers around the country, prevention altogether provides a possible solution before an event even occurs. Recently, more and more companies are implementing fall prevention programs and following OSHA recommended techniques for a safe, slip-and-fall free workplace. Below are just a few reasons why prevention is always better than protection.
Prevention vs. Protection
Solving Problems Before They Happen – Naturally as human beings we are reactive toward situations that arise on a daily basis. The only problem with the reaction in fall protection is the potential for severe injury, even with workers wearing protective gear. Fall prevention, on the other hand, comes as a preparatory agent and may eliminate hazards altogether. By installing guardrails or identifying potential hazards prior to each workday, you’re ensuring the well-being of your workers, allowing them to produce efficiently without danger. As a result, if a fall does occur, you are confident that you took all preventive measures in deflecting the possibility of one occurring.
It is Definitely Cheaper – Prevention always has its upfront costs. As with any venture, initial expenditures are needed for long-term stability and prosperity. With fall prevention, business owners and managers will reap the benefits of long-term health and productivity from workers without additional fees in the future or fines from OSHA. Additionally, prevention decreases the risk of a potential fall. Even if fall protection is provided to the workers – fall protection only saves lives, but does not prevent possible injuries. Many slip and fall victims wearing fall protection still end up with broken bones, bruises, and concussions during a fall, depending on the distance. Either way, prevention helps lower the chance of future company costs for medical bills and lost labor.
OSHA Will Side With You – Slip-and-falls on the job are, unfortunately, going to happen, and every year workers experience injuries, or even fatalities, from work-related accidents. Many of these accidents that occur are preventable and often occur due to negligence from management – either with training or equipment. However, for the rare few freak accidents that occur, or for the accidents that occur due to worker incompetence, management will have OSHA’s support if preventive measures were taken and fall protection was worn. If every possible measure was taken, both preventive and in-the-moment, OSHA does not have a case against the company in terms of compliance. On the other hand, if a company’s leadership does not take preventive measures or provide the proper fall protection equipment or training, it may face some serious fines or jail time.
It is a win-win situation to take preventive slip and fall measures by clearing out or labeling hazardous worksites, as well as setting up guardrails and covers. In the long-run, you’ll save money for the company, and more importantly, you may just save a life. Visit the OSHA website on fall prevention at www.osha.gov.
The author, Matthew Hall works in human resources for a small construction firm, wrting articles on the side to help his peers, and one of his top priorities for employees is safety. To help with managing the associated workload, he turns to eCompliance.com for both software and training. You can learn more about Matthew by visiting him on Google+.