Thank you to all of our staff, partners, and clients for hanging in with us in 2020. We know safety is always a priority and are honored to be trusted with resolving your fall hazards and protecting your essential workers.
Written on November 24, 2020 at 8:30 AM
With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. Because falls continue to plague U.S. businesses, OSHA focuses significant resources on fall prevention. Unfortunately, some businesses fail to resolve fall hazards even after citations, resulting in repeat fall protection violations.
There are four types of violations assigned after an OSHA inspection:
- Other-than-serious: A violation that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but is not serious in nature.
- Serious: A serious violation exists when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation. Penalties for serious violations can be as high as $13,494 per incidence.
- Willfull: A willful violation is when the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety. Willful violations come with penalties as high as $134,937 for each incidence.
- Repeated: Citations for a repeated violation can be assigned if there have been previous violations for the same or substantially similar conditions and if there is an inspection history with a prior notice issued within the past five years. Repeated violations are costly, with the maximum penalty set at $134,937 per incidence.
The costs of falls are considerable and compounding on your business. A fall injures your valuable employee, negatively impacts resources and revenue, increases insurance costs, incurs legal and medical fees, and exposes you to these repeated fines and penalties. U.S. businesses spend over $15 billion annually in fall-related injury expenses.
OSHA offers resources to focus on compliance education to avoid injuries, fatalities, and penalties. In addition to industry alerts, compliance directives, and educational collateral, OSHA offers an on-site consultation program that helps employers identify hazards to be resolved to protect employees and avoid citations and penalties. If an inspection occurs and citations result, the employer has another opportunity to resolve those hazards to avoid repeated violations.
The risks to your employees and your bottom line can be minimized with investment in fall protection equipment. From personal fall protection kits starting at $650 to certified engineered fall protection starting at $15,000, the cost of fall protection is less than the cost of a fall.
Written on November 19, 2020 at 8:30 AM
‘Tis the season to brighten your homes and workplaces with festive holiday decorations. ‘Tis not the season to risk the safety of yourself or your employees. Improper fall protection at the workplace has topped OSHA’s Top Ten citations for nine consecutive years resulting in about 800 fatalities annually and about 200,000 additional serious injuries. Accidents at home happen too with catastrophic consequences. It is critical to consider fall safety during holiday decorating.
If you have opted to decorate your home or workplace for the holidays, your first consideration should be whether you self-install or if you should hire a commercial installer. Depending on your operations, this may be the only time your employees are working at heights so you should assess the following:
- How often do you or your employees access the areas needed to install holiday decorations?
- Do you have safety plans and equipment to keep yourself or workers at heights safe during installation?
- Have you identified, marked, and/or removed any hazards that may be encountered by decoration installation?
- Are you or your employees trained on all safety plans, hazard identification and avoidance, and on all safety equipment?
If you answered no for the most part, you may want to consider hiring a commercial installation service. These companies should be experienced in working at heights, have their own safety equipment, and be well-trained on hazard identification and avoidance.
Self-installation may be an option if your employees are regularly working at heights. Keep in mind you will be responsible for their safety and having a holiday decoration fall protection plan is the best way to prepare and review. Many homeowners opt to decorate their own homes, but often lack the safety equipment or training needed to keep them safe.
Decorating at Home: Safety equipment like the 3M Roof Anchor Fall Protection Kit may be a good investment if you are a homeowner and plan on regularly decorating or performing maintenance at heights on your home. The kit comes with a personal fall protection system including a harness, shock-absorbing lanyard, and removable anchor. When properly used, if you should slip or begin to fall, you will be “caught” quickly before a complete fall giving you time for safe rescue.
Decorating at Work: You’ll likely need to consider two major fall hazards when decorating commercial facilities:
Rooftop Safety: Before holiday decoration installation, inspect with this rooftop fall protection checklist. Ensure all hazards are clearly marked, skylights are covered, and perimeters have compliant fall protection (guardrails, lifelines, safe-access platforms, etc).
Ladder Safety: OSHA now requires employers to install ladder or vertical fall protection on ladder systems over 24 feet in height. It is also important to protect workers at the top of the ladder where they access upper platforms or rooftop with a self-closing swing gate or guardrail. You can review your ladder safety needs here.
Before you dazzle your employees and neighbors, make sure you have taken holiday decorating fall protection precautions in order to keep your workers safe.
Written on November 17, 2020 at 8:30 AM
As businesses across the country onboard temporary staff to meet holiday season and increased essential operation and production demands, they must ensure safe workplaces for temporary workers.
The safety of temporary workers can be overlooked as they get placed in a variety of jobs that they are not always given adequate training, explanation of duties, or complete safety and health training for. To complicate even further, temporary workers placed by staffing agencies can lead to misunderstanding of the role and duty of all involved.
While the extent of responsibility under the law of staffing agencies and host employers depends on the unique factors in each case, OSHA reminds that both are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment. OSHA recommends that the staffing agency and the host employer define their respective responsibilities for compliance with applicable OSHA standards in their contract.
To work cooperatively in defining roles in complying with workplace health and safety requirements and sharing responsibility for ensuring temporary worker safety and health, the following should be considered:
- Staffing agencies have a duty to inquire into the conditions of their workers’ assigned workplaces.
- Ignorance of hazards is not an excuse.
- Staffing Agencies do not need to be experts on specific workplace hazards, but they should communicate with host employers to identify what conditions exist, what hazards may be encountered, and how best to ensure protection.
- Host employers must treat temporary workers like any other workers in terms of training, safety, and health protections.
- Host employers must provide temporary workers with the same safety and personal protective equipment (PPE) that is required for their permanent employees.
OSHA reminds temporary workers that they have the same rights as permanent workers including:
- A safe workplace free of dangers
- Training in clear language that you understand
- Appropriate safety equipment
- Right to identify safety hazards
- Right to report work-related injuries without being punished.
Employers must give equal consideration to temporary workers in regard to obligations under the OSH Act and other worker protection laws. OSHA sets expectations on roles and responsibilities in their “Protecting Temporary Workers” publication.
Written on November 12, 2020 at 8:30 AM
The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report shows workplace fall injuries up slightly in 2019 at 201,180 compared to 199,900 in 2018. Reported numbers include only injuries and illnesses that involved days away from work. Falls to a lower level resulted in 48,040 injuries and falls on the same level was the cause for 153,140 injuries.
The construction industry continues to struggle in fall protection safety with fall injuries up 14% over 2018. Construction falls to a lower level caused 13,770 injuries with days away from work with an additional 7,400 falls on the same level.
Mining, quarrying, and oil & gas extraction had an 18% increase in fall-related injuries with 290 falls to a lower level and 520 falls on the same level in 2019 (930 total fall-related injuries). This was up from 770 fall-related injuries in 2018.
The wholesale trade industry had increased fall-related injuries as well in 2019. Wholesale trade fall-related injuries were up 12% over 2018. Of the 1,640 additional fall-related injuries, 1,160 were a result of a fall on the same level.
Transportation & warehousing, manufacturing, retail trade, and utilities were all down slightly in 2019. Transportation & warehousing decreased both falls to a lower level and falls on the same level for a 5% overall decrease in 2019. Manufacturing also slightly improved in both categories for a 6% overall decrease in fall-related injuries. Retail trade decreased fall injuries by 5% in 2019 with most of that recording from 1,780 less falls to a lower level. Though utilities improved overall, falls to a lower level injuries increased to 370 reported in 2019 compared to 260 the prior year.
A job site fall is a traumatic event not only physically injuring your employee, but emotionally impacting the worker, their families, and their coworkers. The costs of falls are considerable and compounding on your business. A fall injures your valuable employee, negatively impacts resources and revenue, increases insurance costs, incurs legal and medical fees, and exposes you to fines and penalties. Fall Protection Systems is committed to partnering with you to resolve workplace fall hazards. We provide a complete and customized solution to protect your workers and ensure compliant, reliable, and user-friendly fall protection and prevention.
Written on November 10, 2020 at 8:30 AM
The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the workplace injury rate maintained in 2019 with 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, unchanged from 2018.
These estimates are provided from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. The SOII presents estimates of counts and incidence rates of employer-reported nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses by industry and type of case, as well as detailed estimates of case circumstances and worker characteristics for cases that resulted in days away from work (DAFW).
Manufacturing accounted for 15% of all private industry injuries and illnesses in 2019. Ten occupations accounted for over a third of all private industry cases involving days away from work. Laborers, freight, stock, and material movers had the highest number of DFAW injuries with nearly 65,000 cases. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers closely followed with nearly 48,000 DAFW injury cases.
There were 888,220 nonfatal injuries and illnesses that caused a private industry worker to miss at least one day of work in 2019, essentially unchanged from 2018. The median number of days away from work in private industry in 2019 was 8 days, also unchanged from 2018. On the high end, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers spent a median of 19 days away from work after an injury. Median days away from work for maintenance and repair workers, laborers and freight, stock, and material movers increased to 12 days away after an injury, up from 10 days in 2018.
There is clearly much work still to be done to improve worker safety. Most injuries are preventable with proper safety equipment, processes, and training. Fall Protection Systems is committed to workplace fall safety and partnering with you to resolve workplace fall hazards. With well over 10,000 customers served, our team of fall protection specialists, engineers, and certified technicians are experts in turnkey experiences including identifying, designing, manufacturing, and installing fall protection solutions. You can be assured your solution distinctly matches your facility and operation needs and is designed for the highest level of fall safety.
Written on November 5, 2020 at 8:30 AM
Portable, modular fall protection is a versatile overhead anchor solution for multi-purpose facilities. These systems are transportable throughout your site and can be configured to protect workers from falls while performing a variety of operations. 3M’s updated jib expands fall protection with increased rail-length configurations and provides easier system transport.
The updated 3M™ DBI SALA® Flexiguard™ Modular Jib System is a collection of components that can be configured in multiple ways to create portable and adjustable overhead anchorage solutions. A combination of base and mast assemblies can be interchanged with a variety of accessories to customize to your unique operations and worksite with 80 unique application solutions.
- Extended Reach: The M200 model reaches 15 feet from mast.
- Increased Height: Maximum height of 30 feet
- Full Rotation available on most bases.
Adjustment of the system can be accomplished manually with integrated winching handle, or up to 4 times faster using optional power drill overload clutch adapter. A patent-pending Fail-Safe Mast Lock eliminates the need for height-locking fasteners like pins and bolts. The automatic safety lock engages to prevent uncontrolled mast movement if primary lifting mechanism fails.
The unit is rescue ready by equipping with an optional rescue mounting kit to serve as a turnkey rescue plan or as a confined space rescue device.
Optimized for forklift transport, both the M100 and M200 counterweight models can be moved using a 5,000 lb rated forklift. Take a look at the ease of moving the jib system throughout your facility.
Fall Protection Systems is a trusted provider of the new 3M™ DBI SALA® Flexiguard™ Modular Jib System. Our Fall Protection Specialist will consult with you on your operational and portability needs to put together the right collection of components to complete your system. Call us at 888-596-5367 or contact us via email to get a quote started.
Written on November 3, 2020 at 8:30 AM
When you are unable to remove fall hazards from your worksite and operations, you must provide fall protection for the safety of your workers. Overhead anchors provide the safest fall arrest and several portable overhead fall protection options are available if your at-height operations are not necessarily confined to one area on your work site.
FPS P-Series Fall Protection Systems: Our industry-leading level of fall safety in a pre-engineered and portable version of our patented overhead TD3 Truss-supported trolley rail systems. Skid or trailer-mounted, the P-Series system can be moved throughout your facility to provide 20, 40, or 60 feet of fall protection for up to two users. All systems include at least one user set (carabiner, self-retracting lifeline, safety harness) and our industry-leading 5-year structure warranty.
Modular Jib System: A collection of modular components that can be configured to create portable and adjustable overhead anchorage solutions. A combination of base and mast assemblies can be interchanged with a variety of accessories to custom tailor a solution for a specific application or environment. 80 configurations that provide up to 15 feet and 360-degree fall protection from the mast at up to 3o feet in height.
Overhead Rotational Boom Anchor: Provides a safe overhead anchorage that is designed specifically for use around vehicles, utilizing the vehicle weight to secure the anchor. Adjustable telescoping mast allows the height of the system to be varied from 14 to 20 feet. 360-degree rotational boom rotates in the direction of the worker allowing work up to 14 feet from the mast.
Hitch-mounted Anchor: Designed for highway travel, this unit is ideal for maintaining and repairing aircraft, industrial equipment, heavy machinery, or used for any elevated application at multiple locations. Designed for quick attachment to forklifts, trucks, and other towing devices. Rated for one user up to 310 lbs with height up to 22 feet and a 30-degree work area from the anchor point.
Written on October 29, 2020 at 8:30 AM
Falls continue to be one of the most common accidents in the workplace and among the most costly. Investing in fall prevention and/or protection equipment is part of the answer to keeping workers safe at height. The other component is fallen worker rescue solutions.
When the fall prevention and protection equipment is used correctly falls are limited and rare and a rescue plan and equipment can be overlooked. However, rescue is a critical procedure that should be prioritized as part of your overall fall protection program. In most falls, a worker would be temporarily secured through a harness and anchor system saving them from initial catastrophic injury, but leaving them at risk of suspension trauma. Suspension trauma, or harness hang syndrome, is the condition when a worker’s body weight places pressure on the harness straps, which can compress the veins and cause blood to pool in the lower extremities and reduce blood return to the worker’s heart. If the pressure is not reduced promptly, the worker can lose consciousness within minutes.
Products like descenders, ropes, and other rescue gear should be part of your overall fall protection investment. Solutions should be ANSI/ASSE Z359.4 compliant, the standard for technical requirements and testing procedures for rescue descenders, ropes, harnesses, and other equipment.
- Self-Rescue Harness Attachment: Products like the 3M™ DBI-SALA® Self-Rescue device attach to your current safety harness and allow you to lower yourself to safety in the event of a fall from height. The unit includes an assisted rescue ring for an incapacitated user as well.
- Trauma Straps: Suspension trauma safety straps help prevent the effects of suspension trauma after a fall. These allow the worker who is suspended to stand up in their harness to relieve pressure.
- Rescue Positioning Device: Designed to perform as both a work positioning device and as a personnel rescue device. Along with raising and lowering capabilities, the rope in the device can be locked into place so that the user can be positioned in a precise location for work purposes. The simple raising and lowering mechanism make the RPD ideal for use when rescuing personnel.
- Rescue Kits: Rescuers can remotely attach the system to the suspended worker while remaining securely anchored on the walking/working surface.
- Tripod or Hoist Systems: Designed for manhole and confined space entry/retrieval applications.
Written on October 27, 2020 at 8:30 AM
When you are unable to remove fall hazards from your worksite and operations, you must provide fall protection for the safety of your workers. Securing your work at height users with compliant fall protection, training all workers on equipment, and following inspection and maintenance standards are all part of addressing fall hazards. While these measures minimize injuries and fatalities, they will not always stop a fall. Complete fall protection for your workers at heights includes equipment, training, inspection, and fallen worker rescue planning.
An effective fallen worker rescue plan addresses the procedures, equipment, and personnel needed to ensure that a rescue proceeds quickly and efficiently when a fall occurs. Even when the fall protection and restraint components work properly, the fallen worker is still in danger. The worker’s body weight places pressure on the harness straps, which can compress the veins, and cause blood to pool, in the lower extremities and reduce blood return to the worker’s heart. This condition is called suspension trauma, also known as harness hang syndrome. If the pressure is not reduced promptly, the worker can lose consciousness within minutes.
Planning for safe rescue is an integral component of a managed Fall Protection Program as envisioned by American National Standards Institute document [ANSI Z359.2] and by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration standard under CFR 1926.502.(d).(20). The National Safety Council provides guidelines for the creation of a fall rescue plan.
- Worksite and Operation Description: Identify the worksite, fall protection and fall rescue competent person(s), and a summary of the site and fall exposure involved in the work operation.
- Fall Exposure Evaluation: Complete a fall exposure evaluation that considers employee identification, fall exposure types, fall protection equipment, and emergency responders. Determine the maximum fall exposure that could require rescue and the methods, equipment, and training that would be required.
- Rescue Operation Considerations: Identify and incorporate details about the components needed for safe rescue operations and any accommodations including anchorage points, structural features, environment, equipment, hazards, personnel, site, and time.
- Training: Rescue personnel should possess the skills needed to implement the Fall Rescue Plan or should be trained to do so. ANSI Z359.2 offers guidance regarding fall rescue training.
- Pre-exposure Meetings: Review the Fall Rescue Plan during regular safety meetings with all site workers, especially those workers using the fall protection equipment and anyone that is part of the fall rescue plan.