Thursday, July 24, 2008

Clean Work Sites Prevent Fall Injuries

The article below from makes Horse Sense to a safer worksite simply by keeping each construction worksite clean and clear of obstruction. I have seen that most worksites that I've been on the Construction Companies go the Donkey Route and simply DO NOT maintain a safe, clutter free site.

If Construction Companies would follow the recommendations of this article by the article, many fall injuries would not occur. Yes, fall protection can and is the cause of many fall incidents.

Construction safety - How to prevent construction falls

July 23, 2008 - 12:14 AM

Alright, it's obvious: construction accidents occur...often. Workers scaling the sides of buildings, hopping about on scaffolding and working in close quarters with heavy machinery are bound to sustain an injury, one way or another. Workers hanging from flimsy or loosely-fitted harnesses are bound to fall. In fact, such falls are the leading cause of death for construction workers. And each year the number of falls that occur at construction work sites increases. But why? And how can such falls be prevented?

In order to lessen such statistics, the Spanish-Language network Telemundo utilized an approach common to many popular sitcoms it's incorporated the issue into the story line of one of its hit television series, Pecados Ajenos. The incorporation was not only an attempt to raise awareness of this safety issue, but also to disseminate relevant information and statistics to the two million Spanish-speaking construction workers who work in the United States (as well as to their friends and family) and to communicate the fact that such falls can be prevented.

So how, exactly, can such falls be prevented? Most obviously, each and every work site should be equipped with adequate fall safety materials (i.e. harnesses, cables, safety nets, and the other materials discussed in previous posts). However, these materials alone are not enough. Simply having the materials isn't going to save a life; they must be hooked up and utilized in the proper manner.

The foreman should be responsible for teaching his employees and crew members exactly how to use such materials; he should act in a way that sets an example for the rest of the crew. By acting in a professional, precautionary manner, he'll set the safety bar high for other workers (pun intended). Seeing the head hauncho implement safety measures and act with caution and care will prompt other workers to follow suite.

Foreman and other leaders can also guide construction workers with 'toolbox talks'. These conversational programs are intended to increase awareness of fall-related issues and to increase awareness of everyday safety planning.

In addition, the worksite should be organized. Ladders, power tools, and other pieces of equipment should be placed in one area and moved only when they need to be used. Placing these objects in a designated spot ensures that workers won't trip or fall over them simply because they weren't aware that they were even there. Also, keeping ladders in one spot ensures that they are moved only when necessary.

Speaking of organized, there should be no tools or other objects scattered about on scaffolding; if it is necessary to hold objects, they should be placed either on the side or the far back of the planks so they're not sitting in the workers' way.

And finally, workers should never goof around or play jokes at the work site. We're not fun-haters here, and we definitely believe in striking a balance between work and play. But come on - is your coworker plunging thirty feet to the ground really worth the laugh you're going to have when he steps on a rubber chicken? We didn't think so...

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