Fall protection is the most effective way to eliminate injuries while working at height. Falls are among the most common causes of serious work related injuries and deaths. Many workers think harnesses get in the way of work. No matter how uncomfortable a harness may be, one should always be worn when working high up. Fall protection is used in many industries. Fall protection harnesses are in use in the maritime, commercial, industrial and construction fields. OSHA requires fall protection for workplaces above five feet in shipyards, six feet in general construction, and eight feet in longshoring operations. Fall protection is also required when working above dangerous equipment or machinery, regardless of the fall distance.
It is the responsibility of the employer to provide fall protection. Generally a fall protection harness looks like suspenders with that wrap around the shoulders and legs with a buckle on the chest or on the side. There is line of strong material attached to the back of the harness with a hook or eye on the end that is used to attach to ladders, cables or rails. Most harnesses have a pack on the safety line that contains additional material to cushion a fall. This mitigates injury more than a traditional line or rope because the impact is lessened when the slack runs out.
It is important to not only wear a harness, but to use it. The harness does not protect the worker from injury if they do not attach the line to a secure anchor point. When using a fall protection harness, know where you can anchor yourself and attach your line. If there is a place you are supposed to work without an anchor point, you should notify your employer to provide one. If walking over a space with no handrails, attach the harness line to the safety cable that should be provided by the employer. When climbing a ladder always remember to keep three limbs anchored at a time. Secure you harness line on each wrung of the ladder while climbing.
Make sure to always exercise extreme caution when working at height. Fall protection is provided for you safety and it is important that each worker use all of the equipment provided to them in the manner instructed. When your employer provides safety equipment, it is your responsibility as the worker to use it properly for your own safety.
Lambert Zainey represents victims of workplace accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a work site accident or any other accident call Lambert Zainey today for a free case evaluation.