Construction is a dangerous job, but someone has to do it — and thank goodness for that! Without construction workers, we wouldn’t have our office buildings, our homes, or our fun recreational buildings. However, these people do face heightened danger in their work environment every day and it’s important that they be adequately protected. Workers ought to be informed of the laws that protect them, so they can take action if they feel they are being exploited or unfairly treated. Using the right tools for the job, like wire rope thimbles or lifting gear and having fall protection equipment or fall protection courses is a must.
What Measures Are Already In Place?
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) creates regulations and guidelines that govern worker safety. Some of the most important guidelines are there for fall protection safety. OSHA follows a three step plan to keep workers safe: plan, provide, and train. They demand that workers have access to fall protection equipment if they are more than four feet in the air at general industry sites, five feet in the air at shipyards, or six feet in construction.
Having the right tools for the job, like the right slings and thimbles is also important. Using equipment that isn’t right for the job can be dangerous if used improperly. Wire rope thimbles, for example, may not be designed to hold a specific weight and if overloaded, could fall, causing accidents.
Fall Safety Equipment
All fall arrest systems should be tested before use to make sure they are working properly and ought to be inspected at least yearly. A test weight of 300 pounds (give or take about five pounds) is the standard.
Typical fall arrest systems include safety nets and lifelines. Safety nets are used if temporary floors or scaffolds are not in place yet and a person could fall more than 25 feet.
Choosing Your Equipment
If a worker is a considerable distance off the ground, they’re probably lifting things using slings. Varying types of slings, like round slings, wire slings, chain slings, etc., may be used, depending on what they’re being u to lift and what the workplace looks like. For example, metal slings shouldn’t be used around equipment that might give off excessive heat or in the extreme cold. Sling manufacturers will often recommend instructions if metallic core wire rope slings are being used at extreme temperatures — think 400 degrees Fahrenheit or above or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s also important for workers to keep in mind the weight limits for the slings, sockets, and clip fittings that are used to attach loads. If the weight is too heavy, the rope could break and send everything crashing down. Generally, clip fittings have 75-100% of the breaking load of the rope.
The equipment should also be regularly inspected to make sure it’s still working properly and that there is no damage or defects to the equipment. Slings, like wire rope thimbles, should be checked once a year if used moderately, but monthly or every few months if they’re receiving heavy use.
Worker safety is important to a happy and healthy workplace. Don’t take it lightly — it could cost people their lives.