Due to their relative high frequency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set up set protocols companies to prevent falls in the workplace. Fall protection gear and the proper equipment must be provided. They have also instituted the recommendation that companies follow these three steps in fall prevention: plan, provide and train. No where is this fall prevention information more important than in the material handling industry.
The OSHA fall protection training calls for businesses to spend enough time in advance of a the start of a project to plan all the details of how the work will be completed to prevent miscommunication that result in a fall. These details should include all the steps required to finish the work, how those tasks will be done and a detailed list of the equipment that will be used to finish the job and all the safety items that will be used. They recommend companies include the cost associated with any necessary safety equipment, including fall protection equipment, into the budget of the project and not to try to cut corners by going with out any of it. Each piece of safety equipment has a purpose on the job and is completely necessary for its successful completion.
The next step in the process is what they refer to as provide. Additional safety equipment is needed for any workers who will doing their job at certain heights. Anyone working about six feet needs something to prevent a fall. some safety equipment includes harnesses and safety nets. Any equipment that a worker will wear has to be checked to make sure it fits the employee properly. If any of the equipment is found to be faulty or does not fit, it needs to be replaced with working items. A harness is no good to the employee if it does not fit them properly.
Lastly, all workers who will be using any equipment need to be trained on using it correctly and that includes the safety items. The employer should not authorize any workers to use any equipment that they have not been trained on. This includes upgrades. Employers would be well served to have practices in place to verify employee knowledge of how ot use a piece of equipment before they use it to prevent accidents such as falls. It should also be noted that different manufacturers make their products a bit differently than others so no one should assume a worker can use one brand’s item if they were trained on a different brand, model or version. There may have been some improvement that drastically changes the way that piece of equipment is meant to be used or handled. A clasp on a harness, for example, may have been changed.
Businesses in the material handling industry are recommended to offer their workers fall protection courses on a regular basis to refresh their workers’ knowledge base. Safety is everyone’s concern and responsibility in the material handling industry so everyone needs to be trained in fall prevention.