How to Prevent Falls in the Workplace - The 5 Minute Safety Series

Posted by Craig Thornton

In this blog we talk about how to manage falls in your workplace.

Check the video out with Michael Terry of Momentum Safety.

Michael discusses what you need to know about preventing falls in your office, your factory, your workshop or anywhere in your workplace.

 

 

Video Transcription

1. Identification

When it comes to identifying hazards, you’re going to use the same types of processes that we have used in this 5-minute video series - see here and here.

Falls - identify hazards

You need, of course, to consult with your workers and ask them where the main falls risks that they think are out there.

Next is you need to use workplace inspection checklists. These are checklists you use for different hazards in the workplace.

One of the main things that we need to watch out for when it comes to falls is obviously heights.  Heights is where you have your most serious falls. The greater the height, the greater the risk there is going to be.

The other one to look out for here is slopes. This is important for rooftops

2. Assessment

When it comes to risk assessment tools for falls management, there is no specific risk assessment tool.

You can use a generic or standard risk assessment tool. 

Falls - risk assessment tools

The higher the height, the more detailed risk assessment you’re going to need to do.

Oftentimes if you’re talking about a construction workplace these risk assessments will be built into things like safe work method statements.

3. Controls

Once you’ve identified where the risk is, you need to obviously put some good control measures in place for reducing the risk of hurting ourselves from falls. You’re going to use the hierarchy of control.

Falls - risk control

Can we eliminate the risk completely?

You can use things like extendable or telescopic cleaners for example. To get to a height so that we don’t actually have to be up there, we can be standing on the ground and using some sort of extension to perform that heights work that we need to.

Falls - extendable

Where that’s not possible you can look at options where we’re working on a solid surface. You might be looking at things like work platforms.

Falls - work platforms

Or you could use scissor lifts.

Falls - scissor lifts

These are some good example of some engineering controls.

When it comes to administrative controls, you need to think about training workers in working at heights.  There are specific working at heights training courses that you can send your workers to.

Or you may want to implement something called a work permit.

Falls - work permit

Work permits make sure you are comprehensive in your approach to making sure that you’ve got the appropriate administrative controls into place.

Therefore, a person will not be able to go and start working at heights until they have completed the work permit. This makes sure you have the appropriate controls in place.

There are some personal protective equipment (PPE) options as well. We might be looking at lanyards and appropriate fall arrest systems.

Falls - engineering control

Takeaways

  1. You need to be comprehensive in your approach for identifying the hazards for falls.
  2. You can:
    1. use inspection checklists
    2. talk to your workers
  3. Conduct risk assessments for each one of these hazardous situations, and then we implement appropriate controls.
  4. Those controls should be, where possible, working on solid ground or a solid work surface that doesn’t have the risk of falls. If this is not possible, you need to implement good administrative systems, which should include a permit to work.

 

Tags: Health & Safety, Working at Heights, Fall prevention