I very often hear it being said (and indeed say it myself) that falls from heights are the most common cause of death within the building industry. While most of us accept this statement as fact, the more important question which we should be asking ourselves is why? Why is it that more workers around the world die from falls than any other hazards? In understanding why we can attempt to remedy the situation.
Obviously the underlying root of most construction hazard problems is a lack of attention to safety and the absence of a good safety culture. Training workers, supervising them and maintaining good communication on site are all vital in promoting overall safety however when it comes to falls, the single biggest cause of fatalities is a lack of fall protection, either because it takes some planning and provision or because workers are more concerned with productivity which they feel fall protection may hamper. Whatever the reason, the outcome is very often the same, an injury or fatality.
A post on a safety blog SimplifiedSafety.com attempted to understand reasons why workers fail to wear fall protection and some of the excuses they give for neglecting fall safety. Ultimately no matter the excuse fall protection is mandatory and should be worn at all times.
The first reason given as to why fall protection equipment is not worn is because it is uncomfortable. This is the same reason many people don’t like wearing their seatbelts but yet no one debates the fact that seatbelts save lives, similarly there should be no question that fall protection equipment is mandatory because it saves lives.
Fall protection equipment has come a long way and with modern designs, comfort has been factored in. Try out the most comfortable designs which will give workers no excuse not to utilise them. Also ensure workers are trained on correct use of all personal protective equipment including those used for fall protection because if they are not utilising it correctly, not only will it be uncomfortable but it will also be less effective.
The post on SimplifiedSafety.com goes on to discuss the excuse that fall protection equipment limits worker’s ability to work…
Depending upon the work that you do, the protective gear may actually limit your ability to do the work that you need to do. This is probably the most common reason why people do not use the equipment. Customers and employers want to have the job done correctly the first time, so it is important to do whatever you need to do to accomplish this goal. Too many people sacrifice their safety for a better product.
A good fall protection training consultant and also many product specialists can help determine the best and most versatile equipment for your particular application. If you’re new to using fall protection equipment, these can be the best resources available. The right equipment should not inhibit someone’s ability to do their job. Instead it will increase their confidence and allow them to work without fearing for their life.
The article goes on to explain excuses such as fears that the equipment make the worker feel less safe and that it takes up more time and costs more – costs which are not validated (according to these excuse makers). Read the full post at http://simplifiedsafety.com/blog/