What is the most common cause of serious worker injury or death in the workplace? Falls. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to establish safety measures, equipment and protocols to fully protect their workers from falling off heightened platforms, into holes or elevated work stations. According to regulation, OSHA requires that companies provide fall protection gear at elevations higher than four feet in most workplaces, five feet in marine yards, six feet on construction sites and eight feet in longshoring operations.
How can employers protect their employees from fall-related hazards?
The construction industry faces the highest risk for fall hazards, while employees holding healthcare service, maintenance, transportation and material moving occupations are also at risk for falls. To adequately prevent workers from becoming injured in a fall, employers must provide guard railing, floor hole covers, safety harnesses, toe-boards and fall-related safety signs. Meanwhile, OSHA requires employers to identify and address any potential fall hazards, keep workspaces clear from debris, provide personal protective equipment and train workers about fall hazards.
"The construction industry faces the highest risk for fall hazards."
Not all workplaces are serious about fall safety
While fall safety should be one of the first priorities for many companies, especially in high-risk industries, not all employers take these precautions. Far too often, OSHA officials investigate worksites and issue multiple citations for fall-related hazards. These investigations begin after employees lodge complaints or workers are injured or killed on the job due to a fall.
For example, a New Jersey contractor failed to provide fall protection for its employees at four different work locations. As a result, OSHA officials issued the company 13 safety violations amounting to $291,000 in proposed penalties. The citation breakdown includes three willful, four repeat and six serious safety violations due to a failure to provide fall protection, personal protective equipment, regular worksite inspections and much more.
"Since November 2015, OSHA offices in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have inspected [the company's] work sites and issued citations 16 times. In each case, the violations included preventable hazards related to lack of fall protection," Jean Kulp, director of OSHA's Allentown, Pennsylvania office, said. "The company can easily eliminate the hazards by using readily available and reusable personal protective equipment, or by making simple modifications to its work practices, yet it continues to expose workers to dangerous conditions. This will not be tolerated by OSHA"
In the same month, a contractor in the state exposed its workers to similar fall hazards. OSHA officials cited the company two repeat and seven serious violations amounting to proposed penalties totaling $105,631.
"OSHA cited the company two repeat and seven serious violations."
"Falls are the leading cause of serious injury and death in the construction industry so proper workplace safeguards are critical," Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's Marlton, New Jersey office, explained. "This company's failure to provide basic fall protection and total disregard for safety on all of these issues jeopardizes its employees needlessly, and will not be tolerated"
To keep your workers safe, you must hang up easily identifiable safety signs around your workplace. At Stranco, we offer an extensive catalog of premium and custom-designed safety signs for manufacturers in a wide range of industries. Our graphic standard is ANSI Z535.2 and we work with you to make sure that each of your signs fully complies with this specific guideline. Made of vinyl, plastic, fiberglass or aluminum, you can rest assured our signs are durable enough to withstand whatever working environment they are needed in.
If you need safety signs for your workplace, we offer our products in quantities of anywhere from one to more than a 1,000. Contact one of our representatives today to learn more about our custom design options or view a collection of our most popular sign legends on our website.