This morning, the Chicago Tribune’s website featured a photo of four Chicago firemen rescuing a bridge maintenance worker who had fallen 20 feet into the gears of the movable bridge. Certainly, this was not how the worker planned to spend his day, being rescued by the CFD, and then transported to the hospital.
Yet, his story is all too common. In fact, that the worker escaped with his life is lucky, as falling on the job is one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities. According to OSHA, there were 617 fatal falls in 2009, which was down from 2008 when there were 847 fatal falls. Still, the number is unnecessarily high given that most falls are preventable.
Not surprisingly, fall protection is something OSHA takes very seriously. In 2009, fall protection was the second most frequently cited standard (29 CFR 1926.501) and was the standard for which OSHA assessed the highest penalties.
Who Is At Risk?
OSHA's Web page on fall protection states, "Any time a worker is at a height of four feet or more, the worker is at risk and needs to be protected. Fall protection must be provided at four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime and six feet in construction. However, regardless of the fall distance, fall protection must be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery."
You can learn more about how to keep your workers safe from falls by signing up for our training course on Fall Protection.
Fall Protection provides basic fall protection principles to employees who might be exposed to fall hazards. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to identify hazards, specify guidelines for fall protection systems, recognize methods to minimize the risk of falls, specify employer and employee roles and responsibilities in fall protection, and recognize safety equipment limitations.
Call 1.888.362.2007, or visit Workplace Safety Training for information about our on-demand training offering, including a list of available courses. If you’re interested in an option that does not require all employees to be present at the same time, you can take a pass on a classroom style format and consider an online solution.