June is National Safety Month, which offers an additional opportunity to focus on the year-round priority of staying safe at the job site.
Did you know that the third leading cause of accidental injury-related deaths is falls? According the National Safety Council (NSC), nearly 32,000 people died in falls at home and at work in 2014. Within the workplace, construction poses the greatest risk for fatal falls, with 302 deaths reported in 2013, far more than any other industry.
That’s why fall safety is a key focus of the NSC’s National Safety Month, and why it should be a top priority for anyone in the workplace. Training is key, though not consistently applied throughout the job site. According to OSHA, Fall Protection Training ranked number 9 on its 2017 Top 10 list of violations with 1,523. The reality is that slips, trips and falls are 100% preventable. Here are a few tips from the NSC that everyone should be aware of to help prevent a serious or even deadly fall, particularly if you’re working from a ladder, roof or scaffolding:
- Determine what safety equipment is needed for the task
- Scan the work area for potential hazards before starting the job
- Make sure you have level ground to set up the equipment
- Ensure stepladders have a locking device to hold the front and back open
- Always keep two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand on the ladder
- Place the ladder on a solid surface and never lean it against an unstable surface
- A straight or extension ladder should be 1 foot away from the surface it rests on for every 4 feet of height and extend at least 3 feet over the top edge
- Securely fasten straight and extension ladders to an upper support
- Wear slip-resistant shoes and don’t stand higher than the third rung from the top
- Don’t lean or reach while on a ladder, and have someone support the bottom
- Never use old or damaged equipment; check thoroughly before use