Staying Safe at Heights

Posted in Expertise You Can Count On, on Tuesday Jul 25 2017


Author: Andrea Carlson; Safety Manager

For one week in May, OSHA promotes Fall Protection Stand Down to help participating companies raise awareness and educate their staff on how to protect themselves from falls. ACS values safety on job sites and we take pride in our safety record, therefore we were very active in educating our staff and contractors.

Excluding highway collisions, falls are the leading cause of fatalities in construction.


ACS held sessions and reviewed the ACS Safety Manual to assist contractors on fall hazard mitigation and how to utilize fall prevention and protection correctly. As part of any construction project, the ACS Safety Manager is involved in reviewing the ACS Safety Manual and additional client requirements at the kick off meeting to ensure clear communication on policies and to avoid injury.

 

Below are further details on the three primary topics that were discussed during the Fall Protection Stand Down:

Fall Prevention – Openings and Edges

The best way to prevent falls from openings or edges is to use engineering controls:

  • Install guard rails
  • Place hole covers that can withstand 2x the intended weight
  • Identify the opening as a hazard and secure it

 

Fall Protection

Fall protection needs to be used at 6 feet for the construction industry. This is also dependent on the owners’ requirements.

Selecting the correct fall protection is critical:

  • The area should be inspected prior to using PFAS (Personal Fall Arrest Systems) to determine the tie off location, tying off to substantial structural steel or other approved locations that can withstand 5,000 lb. force per person. Do not use conduit, handrails, duct work, etc.
  • Do not use straps or fabric PFAS on sharp metal edges or any corrosive materials that could degrade the equipment.
  • Keep anchorage point overhead to prevent the potential for a swing fall.

How a person is wearing fall protection must be evaluated as well:

  • Wearer must be trained on correct usage.
  • PFAS must be inspected prior to use, every time.
  • Wearers should empty their pockets prior to putting on their PFAS.
  • Harness should be snug, the D-Ring between the person’s shoulder blades, the shoulder straps secure and not sliding off, and the leg straps adjusted to allow no more than one finger between the strap and the wearer’s leg.

 

Ladders

41% of falls below 15 feet occurred from ladders. Safety recommendation include:

  • A-frame ladders should be fully extended and not propped against equipment.
  • Never work from the top two steps.
  • Extension ladders should be used at a 4 foot to 1 foot ratio, extended at least 3 feet above the next level, and secured to prevent movement.
  • All ladders should be inspected, never painted over, and the information tag should be intact.
  • Ladder should be used on a flat, level surface and stored when no longer needed.

Downloadable Ladder Safety Information

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