Fall protection violations are one of the most commonly cited OSHA violations in the modern marketplace.
And while numerous clients and other employers have implemented more regimented and policy-adherent fall protection policies into their companies, this still remains a BIG issue in many industries. And while many companies think that simply investing in more employee training will solve the problem, we have come to the conclusion that this is the real world, and to prevent fall protection citations, you need to implement real-world strategies, not just learn more theory.
Here are a few things to consider when updating and improving your fall protection policies.
1. Stop Rewarding Task Completion Over Task Safety
This is one of the hardest policies to implement because quite frankly, it will hit you where it hurts.
When you begin rewarding employees for safe practices, you are going to lose some money initially because they will naturally be slower and less effective than they would be if they followed unsafe practices and “short cut” methods.
But just consider for one moment what this is really costing you.
If you reward safety over efficiency, you will probably end up losing about 45 minutes of productive time per day. Depending on the industry you operate in, this will cost you very little.
However, even one misstep from an employee resulting in either death or injury can result in tens of thousands of dollars of OSHA fines and the potential for hundreds of thousands more in lawsuits.
So in the long run, it might not be fun, but it’s the best way to do things.
2. Be Prepared for Inclement Weather
A natural part of the human condition is that we want to minimize the amount of time that we expose our body to adverse conditions. Meaning that if employees are working in the rain, extreme cold, or with heavy winds, they are going to be less cautious and less stringent about adhering to safety protocols.
As the employer or manager of a team, you need to be aware of this fact and reevaluate tasks based on the current conditions and workers present.
3. Fall Protection Devices
Do your employees have easy access to fall protection devices? It’s up to you to ensure that they do. When your employees have immediate access to the necessary fall protection equipment, they will not feel like they have to go out of their way to go across the job site and find it, making it more likely they will actually use the equipment and follow safety procedures.
4. Understand the Impact Employee Personal Life
As the leader, it’s your job to stay apprised of your employee’s mental and emotional well-being. If you have an employee suffering through a nasty divorce or an employee who just lost a loved one, do they really need to be operating heavy machinery, or working hundreds of feet up in the air? No!
Stay up to date on your employee’s personal lives and be sure to give them the time off they need when life happens (and it will). Getting the job done early is never worth someone’s safety.