Falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths. Employers must take measures in their workplaces to prevent employees from falling off overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls. This quick card from OSHA is a reference for workers in the general industry.
Written on March 14, 2019 at 9:30 AM
A fall protection systems overhead rigid rail system is used in conjunction with an FPS user set. This set of PPE (personal protective equipment) is how the worker connects to the overhead rigid rail fall protection system.
FPS User Set Components
A user set contains four PPE products:
- Self Retracting Lifeline
- Full Body Harness
- Safety Relief Straps
Additional User Sets
Most FPS fall protection systems include at least one standard user set. However, standard systems can typically support a minimum of 2 users**. Additional users sets can be purchased at the time of system purchase – or after the installation or erection of the system. The FPS Online store, carries a user set in stock and ready to ship.
**Be sure to contact FPS if you are unsure how many users your current system is rated for.
Is an Additional FPS User Set Needed?
If two workers are performing tasks at height, they will both need to be tethered to the fall protection system. Additional consideration needs to be given to any type of rescue for a fallen worker. Should someone sustain a fall while using the fall protection system, and they are unable to perform a self rescue; any personnel that would be rescuing them from unprotected heights would need to be tethered to the system also.
This video demonstrates two users working side by side while tethered to the overhead fall protection systems with FPS user sets.
Written on March 7, 2019 at 7:35 AM
Few enterprises are true one-person operations. We almost always depend on the cooperation of co-workers to achieve production goals and get the job done, no matter what it is. But while most of our compatriots on the production floor are flesh and blood, not all of them are. Some of the most important “co-workers” we have in an industrial or commercial environment are the machines and equipment that automate many of the processes that are part of our everyday routines. Although people may worry about the impact automation will have on the labor market, the truth is that human beings and automated systems can co-exist in harmony.
In fact, bringing human labor and automation together in the workplace benefits everyone for a number of reasons. Because automation is suited to many of the most tedious tasks, employees are free to turn their attention and creativity to solving more complicated problems. Automated systems also handle many extremely dangerous jobs, creating a safer facility for all involved. With fewer accidents, morale increases and turnover decreases. Introducing advanced technology also provides opportunities for advancement for many skilled employees. They can add to their expertise and gain new capabilities they otherwise would not have the opportunity to develop.
There are many misconceptions about how people and automated systems can work together, but don’t let them cloud your judgment. The accompanying infographic details some of the most important information you should know about the mechanical and computerized co-workers you may be overlooking.
Written on March 6, 2019 at 12:06 PM
A roofing company in Florida is faced with high OSHA penalties after a worker died on the job. The worker sustained fatal injuries after a fall in Naples, Florida.
After an OSHA investigation, it was found that the employees were not provided with fall protection systems while performing roofing activities. There was no training provided on proper procedures to erect and us systems, as well as improper training on operation of powered industrial trucks. The proposed fine is for $32,013.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
“This incident may have been prevented had the company implemented and followed OSHA’s fall protection standards,” said OSHA Fort Lauderdale Area Director Condell Eastmond.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.
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Written on February 28, 2019 at 10:51 AM
Many people are aware of the need for fall protection in the workplace. In fact, it was the number one cited OSHA violation for 2018. Do you know what number eight was? Not providing a fall protection training program. As those violations continue to grow it is important for employers to provide training programs for their employees.
According to The Center for Construction Research and training, of the 11.2 million construction workers within the United States, over 30 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino. More than half of those workers do not speak English. Therefore, it is time employers consider offering Spanish fall protection training.
Although OSHA mandates that employers offer training “in a language and vocabulary workers can understand,” it does not always happen. Unfortunately, OSHA rarely learns about the lack of training until it is too late and an accident has already taken place.
It is important for employers to understand that there is a financial benefit to providing training and proper fall protection equipment to their workers. Workers compensation claims are reduced when there are fewer hazards. This means a reduction in lost wages and medical claims after an accident. This can also mean lower rates on insurance premiums in the future as well.
Written on February 27, 2019 at 4:23 PM
The need for tool fall protection is here. For decades, leading causes of death on construction jobsites in the United States have been “Falls” and “Struck by Object” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2015, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recorded 364 deaths from falls (38.8% of the total construction deaths) and 90 deaths from being struck by objects (9.6% of the total construction deaths). That’s a total of 454 workers whose lives could have been saved with the right training and equipment.
According to the BLS, there are more than 50,000 “struck by falling object” OSHA recordable incidents every year in the United States. As EHS Today calculates, that’s one injury caused by a dropped object every 10 minutes on the job.
WHY IS THIS STANDARD SO IMPORTANT?
Statistics like these have driven the need to develop a standard with industry wide requirements for products designed to provide people and equipment protection from dropped objects. This new standard was originally developed by the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) with support from several leading dropped objects equipment manufacturers and has received final approval by ANSI to become an American National Standard.
WHAT IS ADDRESSED BY THIS NEW STANDARD?
This standard establishes minimum design, performance, testing and labeling requirements for equipment solutions that reduce dropped objects incidents in industrial and occupation settings. Dropped objects include hand tools, instrumentation, small parts, structural components and other items that need to be transferred and used at heights. These objects have the opportunity of becoming dropped objects potentially resulting in a struck-by injury or fatality or in damage to equipment. This standard focuses on preventative solutions actively used by workers to mitigate these hazards.
Four individual categories have been established to address specific solutions:
- TOOL TETHERS – Lanyards or materials designed to connect tools to approved anchor points.
- TOOL ATTACHMENTS – Attachment points designed to be field installed onto tools or equipment to provide appropriate connection points for tethering.
- ANCHOR ATTACHMENTS – Attachment points designed to be field installed on structures, equipment or workers, to provide appropriate connection points for tethering.
- CONTAINERS and BAGS – Devices designed to carry or transport tools and equipment to and from heights.
Currently there is an OSHA General Duty Clause (Section 5(a)(1) requiring employers to maintain a workplace “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm” to employees. OSHA’s criteria for issuing a General Duty Clause Violation include:
- There must be a hazard
- The hazard must be recognized
- The hazard causes or is likely to cause injury or death
- The hazard must be correctable
Additionally, OSHA requires that if you work in an environment where you’re at risk of being hit by something that falls, you must do the following:
- Secure tools and materials to prevent them from falling on people below
- Barricade hazard areas and post warning signs
- Use toe boards, screens on guardrails or scaffolds to prevent falling objects
- Use debris nets, catch platforms or canopies to catch or deflect falling objects.
It is the responsibility of every safety manager, construction superintendent, overseer and worker to make sure they understand the dangers they face when working at-height. Fall prevention means preventing things from falling, whether they are people, tools or equipment.
Written on February 26, 2019 at 2:30 PM
Falls in the workplace have been proven to have significant costs for both employers and injured workers. From workers compensation, medical, and insurance costs, the average amount spent on occupational falls annually is $70 billion in the United States. There are three important fall protection considerations when it comes to making fall protection decisions.
One: Do I need fall protection?
It is an OSHA requirement for employers to provide fall protection for workers at heights of 4 ft or greater in general industry, 5 ft in shipyards, 6 ft in construction, and 8 ft in longshoring operations or at any height over dangerous machinery (1926 Subparts M, D, F).
Two: Fall protection prevention or protection?
When a fall hazard is identified in the workplace the employer can choose to eliminate the hazard or protect against it. If elimination is possible through changes to environment, processes or procedures it is always the safest solution. However, often this is not feasible and it is the responsibility of the employer to protect workers from falls. Passive fall protection can be an option through the use of safety gates and/or guardrail as a restraint system. A restraint system prevents a fall from occurring. In other situations active fall protection may be required. This means that workers will be connected to a structure or support that will catch them should they sustain a fall, otherwise known as fall arrest.
Three: Wire rope or rigid rail?
Overhead fall protection falls into three categories. One, a single point attachment; two, an overhead wire rope or cable; three, an overhead rigid rail trolley system. This decision should be made based upon coverage requirements and fall clearance distances. A single point attachment system is an affordable option for a small coverage area. If workers need coverage for wider spans, a cable or rigid system is a better option. Cable systems have a greater fall distance than rigid rail systems due to the sag in the line.
Selecting the proper fall protection can mean the difference between life and death should a worker sustain a fall. FPS offers onsite consultations to help identify hazards, and implement the proper solution at the best price. To learn more, contact us at 888-596-5367.
Written on February 21, 2019 at 8:00 AM
How high do you have to be to experience a deadly fall? Fatal falls from heights occur as low as 6′. In fact, in 2015 16.9% of all fatal falls were from heights from 10′ or less.
Written on February 20, 2019 at 8:00 AM
A study was conducted for the maritime industry by the Dry Bulk Terminals Group that identified an increase in crew member deaths in confined spaces. Remote centralized confined-space monitoring can be set up in compliance with OSHA’s confined space standards for an additional layer of protection.
An advantage of having a central confined space monitoring system is the fact that it requires less workers to manage multiple confined space entries. With the use of badges, the control center authorizes workers to “badge” into confined spaces.
Furthermore, the technology allows for a live visual via internal and external cameras and a clear line of communication both inside and outside the confined space area. Should an emergency arise, the rescue commander can respond immediately.
It is important to note that while remote monitoring is a valuable safety tool it should not replace, but be a part of a comprehensive safety program. Training should include comprehensive evaluation of confined spaces, work permit verification, confined space rescue equipment and teams, as well as gas detection, fall protection, and required personal protective equipment to protect workers.
Written on February 19, 2019 at 8:00 AM
Construction remains the most lethal industry in 2019 for New York. Changes have been made with an emphasis on New York workplace safety due to the high rate of construction fatalities and injuries during the past 10 years. Local Law 196 was approved by City Council in October of 2017, and it requires workers on specific construction sites to receive 40 hours of training by June 2019. The training materials are provided by the Occupational Safety and Training Administration (OSHA).
By the Numbers
Looking at the numbers, it is undeniable that there has been an increase in accidents within the construction industry. According to the Department of Buildings there were 17 fatalities in 2011 which rose to 25 in 2015. There were 671 injuries reported in 2016, and 761 reported in 2017.
The New York Safety & Training Center
The New York Safety & Training center (privately owned) partners with local nonprofit organizations to provide safety training to workers in the construction industry. They offer OSHA 30 hour classes at a discounted rate to serve the community. The training includes instruction for health hazards on the job such as the “fatal four, struck by, and caught in between.”