Updated: Apr 10
HOW TO ACHIEVE FALL PROTECTION SAFETY THAT YOUR WORKERS WILL ACTUALLY BE EXCITED TO USE
FALL PROTECTION SYSTEMS AND DESIGN
Simply put, fall protection safety is often overlooked. We often give false reassurance by thinking it won't happen to us, or we fail to see the fall hazard that is present. It is essential for employers to provide their personnel with fall protection systems that work well and, most importantly, are user-friendly. Systems should have little to no interference with the other work needing to be performed.
Whether you have existing systems that may not quite work the way you need them to, employees who don't use installed systems because they're too big of a hindrance to their tasks, or simply have nothing at all, this article is for you!
Tip #1 - Start with a company that cares
Although this may seem apparent, most of the time, it's the company that was hired that doesn't care to know your company or employee's needs. This creates issues from the start. You are getting a no-effort system that is not custom to your company's needs. Starting with a company that is interested in learning the area of concern and the operations needing to be achieved will help set you up to have a successful system that is used and appreciated.
Tip #2 - First impressions are important, start with a consult
Consultations are the best way to get a solid start on your project planning. Seeing areas in person, or through photos, helps showcase the different aspects of the environment. Knowing what hazards are present, and what obstacles may be in the way is a vital part of making sure the fall protection system is usable and practical. It's why we're the experts, right?
"First impressions start the story. Consumers make quick, permanent judgments." – Seth Godin
Tip #3 - Make it personal
You should feel like the system that is installed is safe and useful. If it's a system you wouldn't want to take the time to use or wouldn't trust your life with, how can you expect your employees to feel? Making sure the system is inclusive and practical is essential to the use of the system. Make it personal!
Tip #4 - Start a budget
Trying to find the money for fall protection on an already tight budget can be hard. When it comes to safety, the budget for fall protection is often left out. Depending on the application, a fully functional and useful system can seem like a large upfront cost. Making sure there is funding available is an important aspect of having a solid, working system. Could you have done a cheaper solution? Sure, but you run the risk of the system not fitting the application, or personnel opting to not use the system because it is not easily accessible or usable. You cannot put a price on someone's life (not to mention, OSHA fines are expensive and can lead to a rise in EMR and Work Comp rates).
"Fall protection - General Requirements" citations from OSHA have been #1 on the most cited list for the last 12 years. This means companies are being cited for fall protection as a whole and not just a small niche part.
Tip #5 - Provide training and maintenance
Make sure your employees know how to properly use the fall protection systems and keep up on maintenance and repairs. Just like anything else, if it's broken or you don't know how to use it, you will go around it. Keep up on annual competent person system inspections and move quickly on repairs. It could be the difference between life and death for someone.
Don't wait to contact someone regarding worker safety. Employees give the majority of their lives to their work. They deserve to be taken care of like family, listen to their concerns, put yourself in their shoes, and make every day a safe day for them.