EHS managers for large organizations are expected to possess an extensive knowledge base that covers a wide range of safety topics, but the limitations of time and training mean that some areas require expert, outside assistance. Fall protection is case in point. Whether or not the EHS manager understands all the complexities of OSHA’s fall protection requirements, most of these individuals oversee large facilities or production areas spread out over large geographic areas. At the most basic level, the challenges facing these individuals—the thoughts that cause sleepless nights–are remarkably similar: where are my fall hazards and what should the organization do to correct them?
EHS managers routinely deal with known and unknown fall hazards. One might think that there is no excuse for a known fall hazard, but budget constraints, lack of time, and the introduction of new work processes create significant obstacles to fall hazard abatement. For a known hazard, we can implement temporary solutions or identify and label a dangerous area a no-go zone until further notice. While less than ideal, these real-world strategies are better than the alternative—doing nothing. The other group of fall hazards—the unknown—is more problematic. Unknown hazards present a greater risk because, by their very nature, they lack “temporary solutions” and workers are not instructed to avoid these areas. In the eyes of OSHA, not knowing about a fall protection regulation isn’t a free pass to avoid a citation. More importantly, a lack of knowledge about relevant OSHA requirements and existing fall hazards will never undo a significant injury or accidental death. So, as responsible ESH managers, how do we identify and remediate our known and unknown fall hazards?
Our best advice is partnering with a fall protection company to perform a comprehensive fall hazard assessment. By working with a company that specializes in fall safety, you can expect:
• A partner with a deep knowledge in fall protection across a wide spectrum of industries and applications
• Access to individuals defined by OSHA as a “qualified person” with specific fall protection training and experience
• A detailed written summary of all fall hazards, including a risk analysis to help prioritize future remediation efforts
Remember, there is not a single “universal approach” to fall hazard mitigation. Assessing the risk of fall hazards involves looking at specific work environments, working heights and job duties, number of employees accessing a specific area and many other factors.
Unlike other fall protection organizations that are sales driven, our primary mission is to educate clients, so they have a keen understanding of the specific hazards and risks present at their facilities before we begin recommending solutions. The systematic elimination of fall hazards in any workplace starts with proper planning, and a hazard assessment/risk analysis of your facilities presents the best path toward OSHA compliance and enhanced worker safety. To learn more about fall hazard assessments or to arrange a site visit, contact Diversified Fall Protection for further assistance.
Diversified Fall Protection is a complete turnkey provider of OSHA compliant fall protection systems. To learn more, contact Diversified Fall Protection for expert assistance with your fall arrest and fall protection safety requirements.