Tech Talk Blog

Is Your Fall Protection Program Proactive or Reactive?

Some companies proactively seek out shop hazards and unsafe work practices while other organizations make changes only after disaster strikes. Reactive safety programs draw on lagging indicators (information gathered on the heels of an incident); proactive companies rely on leading indicators to identify unsafe conditions and predict the likelihood of an incident. Few will dispute that a proactive approach yields a safer workplace, but some struggle to determine which leading indicators deserve the most attention when crafting a safety strategy.

When you think about it, this lack of consensus makes sense. There is no single, one-size-fits- all leading indicator to create a risk and incident free workplace. Most safety experts stress leading indicators DO NOT function independently of one another—they work in concert together. This post examines some of the common components of a fall protection program and demonstrates how you can utilize effective leading indicators to create a safer work environment for your employees.

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Is Your Fall Protection Funding Request Falling On Deaf Ears? Try This….

no-tileYou are a conscientious safety professional who has identified a potential fall hazard in your facility. You’ve done your due diligence and selected a reputable fall protection company to provide a solution after reviewing proposals from multiple vendors, but the CapEx request is falling on deaf ears with upper management. You are on a first-name basis with the folks in your plant, and you’ve met their wives, husbands, and children during company functions, but you don’t have the funding required to move forward with the fall protection project to keep them safe.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. The narrative above plays out every day in the working world, but the cause is not lost. Rather than conceding defeat, it’s time to switch tactics to win support (and funding) for your project.

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What You Can Learn From Another Company’s Willful Neglect For Workplace Safety

Four months ago, OSHA cited Material Handling Systems/MHS Technical Services for failure to provide fall protection for their employees working on conveyor systems at an Illinois United Parcel Service facility.   Last month, a 42-year-old MHS employee fell 22 feet to his death at the same UPS facility.  OSHA has fined MHS $320,000 due to the company’s “serial disregard of fall protection.”

We are dedicating a Tech Talk post to this tragic story because it tells a cautionary tale we should all heed.  For starters, the accident victim could have been your father, son, or husband—and this is a workplace death that could have been prevented. 

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5 Must Ask Fall Protection Questions

Workplace falls are one of the leading causes of occupational injuries and deaths nationwide.  A fall from as little as 4 feet can have devastating or even catastrophic consequences.  This post offers 5 “Must Ask” questions to help assess the health of your company’s fall protection program and benchmark compliance with key OSHA regulations, ANSI guidelines, and industry-accepted best practices.

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Calculating Fall Distance Clearance Requirements

During a site visit, we often busy ourselves gathering information to determine if a building’s roof structure, as well as the interior beams, columns, and trusses can withstand the forces generated during fall arrest.  We also collect information on fall clearance distances because fall arrest system is only as good as its ability to ensure you don’t hit the ground—or objects below the work area.

Most clients grasp structure fairly quickly, but fall clearance distance is tricky because its calculation depends on a number of variables including the type of anchor point, the PPE used to form the connection between the anchor point and the worker, and the anchor point’s location. 

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Why You May Need A Fall Hazard Assessment

fall hazard assessment in progressEHS 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?

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Did You Know?

When stopping a fall, personal fall arrest systems must limit the maximum arresting force on the body to 1,800 pounds?