It is an employer’s responsibility to keep their employees safe at all times in the workplace. Keeping them safe from falls is particularly important because falls happen frequently, and the potential for injury is great.
Is falling a big problem?
According to WHO, there are an estimated 684,000 fatal falls every year. Falls are the second-highest cause of unintentional injury death, after incidents on the road.
Falls are most likely to cause injury or death to particular groups of people, most often the elderly, children, and people with poor mobility and cognition. Alcohol is a risk factor for falls, as is working at height, so it’s so important that employers do all they can to protect employees.
There is also a larger risk of injury from falling for people living in less affluent areas because it’s more likely that the proper safety precautions won’t have been taken.
What measures can you take?
If there are heights in your workplace, it’s a good idea to work with fall prevention specialists like Oxford Safety, who will be able to advise you on how you can make your workplace as safe as possible.
For example, they can install a safety railing, safety matting, stairwell protection, and handrail protection for people who are working at height. They can also provide access covers to prevent trips and falls.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recommends that employers take the following measures:
- Prevent employees from being able to trip or fall on holes by providing adequate covering.
- Provide guard rails around any open platforms.
- Guard rails should also be provided to prevent falls into dangerous machinery or substances, even if these things are not at a height.
- Ensure that proper PPE is provided for employees working at a height, including harnesses, hard hats, safety rails, and safety nets.
As well as providing specialist equipment for people working at height, there are some simple measures that employers and employees alike can take to ensure that falls are kept to a minimum.
For example, ensuring that work areas are kept clean and tidy means that there is a much lower chance of a fall because there won’t be anything for people to trip over! Floors should always be kept dry, too, and if they do become wet, then warning signs should be placed so that people can avoid them.
Training is an essential part of empowering employees to stay safe, too. Ensure that you provide adequate training on the hazards that employees are likely to encounter in your workplace, and this will give them the knowledge they need to keep themselves safe.
If your employees need to use equipment such as ladders and lifts, you must provide regular training on how to use equipment safely. Make it clear that it is an expectation of their job that they carry out their work safely and that this is just as important as high performance.