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Fall Protection Safety Tips

In 2014, nearly 40% of the 874 deaths in the construction industry were a result of falls, and the number of injuries related to fall-related accidents each year is staggering. In addition to the risk of injury, falls cost business owners millions in compensation, lost time, and third party lawsuits annually. Fortunately, with the right combination of fall prevention equipment, employee training, and proper planning, employees will be able to work on construction sites while minimizing both the risk of injuries and the associated costs.
Florida fall protection safety tips

Exploring the Major Construction Site Fall Hazards

Construction sites are full of hazards that can result in injuries, and some of the most common involve fall risks. When considering how you will keep your employees safe on the job site, there are three main hazards of which you will want to be aware.

1. Unprotected Edges and Openings

During the construction process, almost all sites will have an unprotected edge, side, floor hole, or wall opening at some point during the job. It is easy for workers to step into a hole or off a ledge if they are carrying something that is blocking their forward view. Without proper protection, these openings can become major sources of injury, ranging from simple sprains to more significant injuries or even death.

2. Improper Scaffolding Construction

Working with heavy building materials and equipment is challenging on the ground, so when attempted on scaffolding where there is limited space, these activities can become even more dangerous. Falls from scaffolding that has been improperly constructed is a major workplace hazard, and for that reason, OSHA requires the use of personal fall arrest systems or guardrails for workers on platforms that are 10 feet or higher.

3. Unsafe Portable Ladders

Each time you use a portable ladder you are at risk of falling. These ladders can easily shift and slip from their supports, and you are also at risk of losing your balance as you get on and off a ladder that is unsteady. Each year there are over 100 deaths in the U.S. that result from ladders, many of which may have been preventable with the right fall protection equipment in place.

Staying Safe on the Job

Fall protection should be a major concern for all employers. Management is required to create and implement a fall protection program and provide adequate training to employees regarding fall protection safety. These programs should also be evaluated regularly to determine whether they are effective and if changes need to be made.

OSHA has also outlined some important fall protection tips, and employers will be wise to incorporate them into their safety plans:
  • Before beginning work, identify all potential trip and fall hazards, including unprotected edges, floor openings, shafts, stairwells, roofs, and stairwells
  • Thoroughly inspect all fall protection equipment to look for defects prior to use
  • Stabilize and secure ladders before climbing onto them
  • Choose and wear appropriate fall protection equipment
  • Never stand on the top rung of a ladder
  • Always use handrails when ascending or descending stairs
  • Keep hazards such as welding leads, hoses, and cords off of walkways or nearby work areas
Employers have an important responsibility to supervise their workers properly and educate all personnel on how to complete their jobs safely.

Using the Right Fall Protection Equipment

In the construction industry, OSHA regulations require fall protection when employees are working at heights above six feet. The right fall protection equipment from a reputable Florida industrial supply company is the first line of defense in keeping your employees safe, but it is crucial that these devices are being used correctly.

Full-Body Harnesses

A full-body harness is a type of full body support that should be used if fall potential is present. It offers prolonged suspension and a disruption of impact forces that can’t be achieved with other types of harnesses.

When using a full-body harness, keep the following tips in mind:
  • Adjust the harness so that it fits snugly
  • Ensure that the chest strap is centered
  • Never leave any straps loose or hanging
  • Place the sub-pelvic and shoulder straps in their correct position
  • Ensure the dorsal D-ring where the lanyard or vertical lifeline connects is properly positioned

Ladder Safety Devices

Ladder safety devices are important Florida industrial products, as they will keep portable ladders stabilized when employees use them. In addition to these pieces of equipment, OSHA has also outlined other safety recommendations regarding ladder use, including:
  • Always face the ladder when climbing up or down
  • Never carry an item up or down a ladder that could pose a fall risk
  • Use of ladders on level and stable surfaces unless secured to prevent displacement
  • Never fasten ladders together to create longer sections


Lanyards are used to secure workers to a fixed object via a safety harness. When using a lanyard, it is important to always tie it off as high as possible, as this will reduce the distance of a free fall in the event of an accident. A lanyard should attach directly onto the back D-ring. Before you trust a lanyard and start a job, always make sure the connection is properly closed and secure.

Vertical Lifelines

Vertical lifelines will allow workers to safely climb up and down, locking into position in the event of a fall. When using a vertical lifeline, it is important that all workers understand that these lines require extra clearance and should be used with a three-foot lanyard. The rope grab should also be placed above the D-ring so that it can be safely reached at all times.

Creating a safe environment is critical for jobsite injury prevention, especially when it comes to falls. By encouraging proactive behavior and investing in the right protective gear and equipment, employers will take the first steps in ensuring that everyone stays safe while on the job. This article cannot address every possible situation that might occur regarding fall protections. To protect the safety of your employees you should always have an assessment by a qualified safety professional to determine the best fall prevention system to use in your particular situation. We can help! If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact us or give us a call at 1-888-514-5152 today.
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