Under the guidance of Safety Director Greg Covaleski, Blue Rock Construction recently participated in its first “Stand Down to Safety” as part of OSHA’s third annual National Safety Stand-Down. The purpose is to raise awareness of preventing fall hazards in construction.
According to the United States Department of Labor, fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, accounting for 337 of the 874 construction fatalities recorded in 2014. Those deaths were preventable. Fall prevention safety standards were among the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards, during fiscal year 2014.
Blue Rock required all active job sites, plus Blue Rock’s four offices, to have a “Toolbox Talk” on some sort of fall prevention as it relates to a specific job site. It’s always a good practice for workers to pause during the workday to engage in discussions, demonstrations and training on how to recognize hazards and prevent falls, even if it’s just a five-minute session.
One of the topics covered centered on “Falls: General Protection and Awareness” that included guidelines for Fall Prevention:
- Guardrails are required on work surfaces when workers are exposed to falls over six feet.
- Guardrail must be 42 inches high. A mid-rail is required.
- The fall protection training program must cover the recognition of potential fall hazards at the workplace for the employee.
- Body harness with lanyards and secure attachment points are used when guard rails cannot be provided.
Another “Toolbox Talk” discussed “Scaffold Safety” and included several key safety reminders:
- Scaffold safety starts before setup and doesn’t end until after teardown is complete.
- Carefully inspect all scaffold components. If a part is broken, damaged or just looks iffy, remove it from service.
- Make sure all planking is scaffold-grade lumber and not just construction-grade wood.
- Use mudsills under scaffolds that are going to be installed in mud or on soft or frozen ground.
- Do not overload scaffold planks. Don’t guess. Refer to span charts to determine load capacity.
At Blue Rock, safety is critical to our success and will always remain our No. 1 priority.