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Fall Protection

In 2005, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 767 workers died in fatal falls, a 7% decline from the series high recorded in 2004. [More...] Falls from ladders and roofs still account for the majority of falls. Identifying fall hazards and deciding how best to protect workers is the first step in reducing or eliminating fall hazards. There are a number of ways to protect workers from falls including conventional systems such as guardrail systems, safety net systems and personal fall protection systems (fall arrest systems, positioning systems and travel restraint systems) as well as through the use of safe work practices and training. The use of warning lines, designated areas, control zones and similar systems are permitted by OSHA in some situations and can provide protection by limiting the number of workers exposed and instituting safe work methods and procedures. These alternative systems may be more appropriate than conventional fall protection systems when performing certain activities. Whether conducting a hazard assessment or developing a comprehensive fall protection plan, thinking about fall hazards before the work begins will help to manage fall hazards and focus attention on prevention efforts. If personal fall protection systems are used, particular attention should be given to identifying attachment points and to ensuring that employees know how to properly don and inspect the equipment.

The Wintex Fall Protection program is designed as a quick reference to assist with helping prepare and implement an effective and safe fall protection program.

Is Your Fall Protection Equipment a SILENT Hazard?

Each year over 100,000 injuries and deaths are attributable to work-related falls. According to the National Safety Council, falls are one of the leading causes of deaths in the workplace. In addition to permanent injuries and lost lives caused by falls, businesses lose billions of dollars each year from significant increases in insurance premiums, workers’ compensation claims, product liability costs, and other related expenses. According to Boston-based Liberty Mutual, the leading private provider of workers’ compensation insurance in the United States, on-the job injuries cost employers nearly $1 billion per week in payments to injured employees and their medical care providers.

Has Anyone Noticed?

The manufacture and sales of fall protection products have steadily grown over the past decade, however the number of injuries and deaths associated with falls from heights has also increased.

What’s the Problem?

Several factors have contributed to these alarming and disturbing statistics:
• All fall protection equipment deteriorates with use and exposure over time, regardless of brand and/or manufacturer.

• Equipment is not inspected often enough for wear and damage.

• Proper training is not provided – often, the wrong equipment is selected for a particular situation, and equipment is not worn properly.

Those specifying or using fall protection equipment know these factors to be valid (at least at some subliminal level). Yet, it is very likely that a high percentage of equipment used on job sites throughout North America today, would fail to meet safety standards if exposed to a fall. Meaning, someone could be seriously injured or die.

The following factors are key considerations to provide
maximum fall protection safety and to ensure compliance
with regulations and standards.

1) Warnings – Always read all instructions and warnings contained on the product and packaging before using any fall protection equipment.

2) Inspection – All fall protection equipment must be inspected prior to each use.

3) Training – All workers should be trained by a Competent Person in the proper use of fall protection products.

4) Regulations – Understand all Federal, State, Local and Provincial regulations pertaining to fall protection before selecting and using the equipment.

5) Rescue Planning – Minimizing the time between a fall occurrence and medical attention of the worker is vitally important. A thorough rescue program
should be established prior to using fall protection equipment.

6) Product/System Preferences – If there are any doubts about which fall protection products to use, contact your Wintex Distributor or call Wintex Technical Support at 800.689.5154.

7) System Components – Only components that are fully compatible with one another should be used. Fall arrest systems are designed and tested as complete
systems and should be used in this way.

8) What to Do After a Fall – After a fall occurs, all components of the fall arrest system should be removed from service.

9) Call for Information – If there are any questions or concerns about your fall protection program or system, contact Wintex Training at 800.689.5154.

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