Hazards associated with falls are found in many workplaces, and falls are among the most common causes of work-related injuries and deaths. Common height-related hazards include the top of vehicles or trailers, tanks, elevated structures, roofs, or pits. Employees who work six feet or more above the ground or lower level are at risk of serious injury or death.

Discussion Points:
• Hazards associated with falls in the workplace
• What height-related hazards are present in your facility?
• Fall injuries result in enormous burden for companies
• Develop and implement a comprehensive fall protection plan
• Require the use of safe work practices

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 40% of all fall-related deaths happen below 15 feet, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 260,000 employees miss one or more days of work due to injuries from falls and more than 800 employees die as a result of their injuries annually. This creates an enormous burden for companies with injuries from fall incidents costing billions of dollars annually in workers’ compensation and medical costs. Employers must provide fall protection and the appropriate equipment for their employees to prevent injuries from falls. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided for employees working at four feet in general industry workplaces and when working over dangerous machinery or equipment, regardless of the height. Employers must provide a clean working area that is free of potential hazards and unknown dangers. They should develop and implement a comprehensive fall protection plan and require the use of safe work practices. They should ensure the work area is safe and includes the use of guard rails around elevated openings.

Employees should be trained on the safe use of machinery and equipment they use to perform tasks on the job. They must understand how to recognize work-related hazards and use the required personal protective equipment and fall protection equipment including safety nets and safety harnesses. OSHA provides educational resources and information on fall protection on their website.

As always, stay safe out there!