Falls are extremely common on construction sites and industrial locations. Whether retrieving an item at the top of a stack of shelves, climbing scaffolding, or using large equipment like cranes, there are many situations when on-site employees are working from great heights.
A lack of proper health and safety measures can increase the risk of falls and associated injuries. Although falls can be accidental, even with effective measures in place, the majority of the millions of fall-related injuries that occur every year on industrial sites are preventable.
As a business owner or site manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure your staff and visitors are safe at all times on your construction company site. Part of your role includes preventing falls and fall-related injuries.
Below, we have covered the most common fall-related injuries and helpful steps you can take to keep your on-site workers and guests safe from falls.
What Are the Most Common Fall-Related Injuries?
Falls can result in a wide range of injuries, depending on the height from which the person falls and how they land. However, there are some injuries that are more common than others.
The most common fall-associated injuries include:
- Cuts, scratches, and bruises
- Bone fractures or sprains
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
How to Prevent Falls and Fall-Related Injuries On Your Work Site
Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do as a site owner or manager to reduce the risk of injuries and keep your workers and visitors as safe as possible. Preventing falls and other accidents on your site not only keeps your team healthy but also reduces the risk of you receiving hefty personal injury claims, losing money, and damaging your reputation.
Here are some simple yet effective tips for preventing falls and associated injuries on your industrial site.
Conduct thorough risk assessments
Risk assessments are mandatory for high-risk workplaces like construction sites, factories, and warehouses.
Before any of your staff can use a new piece of equipment, you must assess its potential risks and hazards. You must also assess the potential risks within different areas of your site, particularly if you have hired new staff members or moved things around.
You’ll need to perform risk assessments regularly throughout the years to maintain industry standards and abide by health and safety laws. Pay attention to the areas on your site that require employees to climb to a significant height and are, therefore, prone to fall-related incidents. This may include areas with scaffolding or tall stackable shelving units.
As part of your risk assessment, you will need to outline how you will mitigate the identified risks to keep your employees and visitors safe and free of injuries.
Invest in high-quality safety gear
Safety gear and personal protective equipment (PPE) are essential for preventing accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The exact type of safety equipment your staff needs depends on the unique nature of your workplace.
Generally, the PPE required for industrial sites include:
- A 1-point safety harness
- High-visibility jacket
- Thick work trousers
- Steel-toed boots
- Thick gloves
- Hazmat suits
You should provide the above safety gear for each staff member on your site, particularly if they are working on scaffolding, with heavy machinery, or with potent chemicals.
Install guardrails and barriers
Guardians and barriers help to prevent injuries when your employees are working on scaffolding and tall platforms. Falls are a significant risk in these situations, so preventative measures are vital to avoid injuries and fatalities.
Guardrails and railings provide a physical barrier that prevents your workers from slipping and falling over the side of the platform and to the ground below. You can insert these physical barriers in a range of areas, including roofs, walkways, and elevated platforms.
Provide ongoing health and safety training for your staff
Proper health and safety training equip your employees with the knowledge they need to avoid accidents, report hazards, and keep themselves and others safe.
Your training should enforce safety protocols and emphasize the importance of using equipment properly and wearing the appropriate PPE when on-site. As the site owner or manager, you should ensure that all staff members feel comfortable with your imposed health and safety measures.
Make sure to provide ongoing training sessions to both new and old staff members. If you change one of your health and safety policies or the on-site environment changes, host a one-off training session to inform your workers as soon as possible.
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