Improve Worker Safety With Fall Prevention Systems
Improve Worker Safety With Fall Prevention Systems
Falls are a significant job hazard in many work environments and are among the leading causes of workplace accidents and injuries. As such, understanding and implementing fall protection measures is essential.
Ensuring that effective fall prevention systems are in place is a necessary responsibility for any employer where this risk could be present. This will help to create a safer workplace, as well as boost employer compliance.
To minimize falls and improve worker safety, there are several different fall prevention systems and technologies that you could use. Below, we will explore the different types of systems available and how employers or site managers can use them to offer a greater level of safety in the workplace.
Fall Protection: Prevention, Arrest & Restraint
It is the responsibility of the employer to implement the correct fall protection systems. These include fall prevention, arrest, and restraint.
While these all aim for the same general goal (to minimize fall incidents and enhance workplace safety), they are three different fall protection systems. Let’s explore each one below.
Fall Prevention Systems
The most important, or most desirable, fall protection system is fall prevention. Prevention is about eliminating the risk of a fall to make sure that it doesn’t happen in the first place.
In order to do this, you would need to implement a proper risk assessment. This will help find any possible fall risks within the workplace and put preventative measures in place to increase safety and remove the workplace incident from occurring.
Prevention methods should include things like blocking off any areas where a fall could occur or limiting the work done within that space.
Fall Arrest Systems
A fall arrest system is put in place to stop somebody while in the process of a fall. This is a precautionary measure that is taken when workers are in situations where there is a clear fall hazard present.
Fall arrest systems include things like harnesses, decelerators, ropes, and nets that can catch you while in the middle of a fall. These systems don’t prevent the fall from happening, but they help to prevent a dangerous or fatal outcome.
Fall arrest systems differ depending on the specific scenario and environment. However, these systems will generally consist of three different things:
- an anchorage point
- a connecting device
- and body support.
Fall Restraint Systems
When looking at a dangerous workplace, you need to decide whether an arrest system or a restraint system is necessary. A fall restraint system has similarities to both of the other systems above. This is when systems stop someone from reaching the hazardous area in order to prevent falls from happening.
The fall risk area is still there, but workers are held back from it to keep them safe. This could include things like barriers or harnesses with a limited length.
For example, imagine if you are doing some work on a rooftop. A safety harness fixed to an anchor can prevent you from reaching the edge of the roof so that you can’t fall off.
Implementing Good Fall Prevention Systems
To enhance workplace safety and reduce the risk of fall incidents, employers or managers need to introduce fall prevention systems effectively. These systems may vary depending on the specific work environment and risks present.
Below are some of the most common safety features or types of fall prevention systems.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is always a good starting point when it comes to looking at worker safety. PPE is necessary for any environment where dangers are present. If there is the risk of a fall, workers need to wear helmets for protection.
PPE also includes safety harnesses – a type of fall restraint system. These can help to prevent falls or they can arrest a fall while it is taking place. Thus, they minimize the risk of accidents and injuries on job sites.
Some of the key pieces of equipment in fall protection include:
- An anchorage: A secure point of contact to attach ropes and lifelines
- Body harness: A set of straps and ropes worn by workers in order to arrest a fall if one takes place. The harness connects to the anchorage
- Connectors: This is what connects the positioning device system with the personal fall arrest system
- Suspension belts: Used to support workers while hanging vertically. These can be adjusted to suit different positions
- Body belts: These reduce fall risk by restraining workers that wear them
- Cable lanyards: Used for restraint purposes
- Safety nets: To catch and arrest any falls
- Rails: A preventative solution that can be fixed to the edges of any area where the risk of a fall is present
Technologies here are continually evolving and improving. Now, there are safety apps, better training, detection or warning technology, and more. Keeping up to date with new safety technologies can help ensure worker safety on job sites.
For example, training apps teach workers how to check their harnesses, fall clearance calculators, and wearables that can alert managers if workers are in high-risk areas.
Proper Worker Training
One of the essential things for any employer to implement in the workplace is an effective training system. Worker training needs to be taken seriously as this can help to prevent any possible workplace accidents.
Anyone working in a dangerous environment needs to understand all of the possible risks involved. Workers need to know how to use the appropriate safety equipment properly, and they need to know how the fall prevention, arrest, and restraint systems are being implemented.
Having an exemplary safety and compliance system in place is incredibly useful here. For example, with Field1st, workers can quickly identify risks and look up the appropriate precautions to take.
Suspension systems allow hanging workers to go up and down while supporting them in the air. These systems will enable the worker to have their hands free to do things like clean windows, paint, do electrical work in difficult places, and so on.
Fall Retrieval Systems
Beyond just fall prevention and arrest, there is also the issue of retrieval systems. If a fall does occur, you need to implement proper retrieval methods.
Supervisors and safety managers should have a dedicated fall retrieval system in their management plan around fall safety.
A Clear System
A clear safety plan and system around dealing with falls and implementing safety measures need to be available. Employers need to have precise guidelines and policies around fall prevention. This helps to implement preventative measures easier and to understand better what kind of equipment is needed in which scenarios.
A clear site-specific program should be developed, with detailed procedures needing to be communicated to employees.
The Bottom Line On Fall Prevention Systems
Falls in the workplace can pose a serious risk to workers and employees. This is one of the leading causes of injury and accidents on job sites and within work environments. As such, it is something that requires plenty of focus and safety implementations. Maintaining adequate levels of worker safety is essential here. This is not only for keeping employees safe and making them feel better at work, but it is also necessary for compliance by the employer.
Many workplaces do not meet the requirements for fall protection – resulting in a higher number of accidents. Therefore, it is essential to apply the necessary fall prevention systems to keep your workers safe and minimize risk.