According to the Center for Construction Research and Training…
The problem is improper fall protection and prevention. It is no wonder the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires fall protection to be in place for any construction work six feet or more above the ground.
At Molin Concrete Products, we face fall hazards directly as precast designers, manufacturers, and installers. We take these hazards seriously and go above and beyond with our precast concrete Fall Protection Program.
Our goal is to keep our people safe at all costs. As a result, our employees work safer, more confidently, and finish projects more efficiently. Let’s explain the safety practices we use and OSHA’s fall protection standard so that when we install your concrete products, you can identify our safety measures.
How our Fall Protection Program keeps people safe
We are constantly looking for new ways to make our precast concrete installation safer and more efficient. We recognize that we have a duty to provide protective equipment to our employees, decide when work is unsafe, and train new employees about the hazards of the job. But we see workplace safety as more than just a set of OSHA requirements. Fall protection should be constantly improved.
That is why in 2019 when we could not find preventative equipment to fit with our precast, we decided to engineer a solution. We brought in a team of fabricators and safety experts to design our own fall protection system: our precast-compatible guardrails. The precast industry mostly relies on protection over prevention on the job site (like protecting workers with lanyards during a fall instead of preventing the fall altogether). Prior to the development of our guardrails, we did as well.
The guardrails we developed use 11-gauge steel stanchions (the vertical part of the guardrails) to support the weight of our workers and equipment. Foremen, bricklayers, and the rest of our installation team use them in the field. Workers can easily anchor our guardrails into the precast concrete because of the design. As workers move, so do the guardrails to keep the finished edge inaccessible. They are truly an innovation in precast workplace safety.
As mentioned, our Fall Protection Program is separated into prevention and protection.
Here are the fall safety measures we have in place:
• Guardrails to keep workers away from edges.
• Barricades to prevent workers and matter from falling over.
• Five-point harnesses to strap in workers.
• Lifelines to anchor workers into the structure.
• Helmets to protect worker’s heads from falling material.
• Additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is dependent
on the job.
Instead of choosing one of OSHA’s fall protection measures (listed in the next section), our Fall Protection Program includes all five. Whenever possible, we will eliminate the hazard or substitute a process to avoid a fall. Otherwise, we offer passive fall protection with guardrails, fall restraint with anchors and rope, fall arrest with five-point harnesses, and administrative controls with in-depth training.
Employees are trained to use their PPE, barricades, and guardrails as they go by anchoring each into precast concrete. Employees are also trained on the OSHA fall protection standard and our Fall Protection Program on the first day. During training, they receive a health and safety orientation as well as get their own PPE. Training never stops, however, and experienced staff teach newbies in the field how to recognize hazards, inspect the equipment, and use their PPE.
We established our latest fall protection program three years ago and introduced our specially-engineered guardrails into the field. Our employees love the safety procedures we have in place and happily adopt them into their work routine. We are confident that if the guardrails were no longer required, our employees would feel less confident working. Our guardrails and other safety equipment make installing precast concrete not only safer but also quicker and easier, saving both you and Molin time and money on added labor.
What is OSHA’s fall protection standard?
The OSHA fall protection standard requires protective measures to be used whenever construction workers are over 6 feet in elevation. OSHA has an extensive 48-page manual with more detailed requirements for fall protection as well. It covers both human and equipment-related issues to protect workers, as falls usually involve many factors. OSHA’s manual Fall Protection in Construction, which you can view here addresses:
• When protective measures are needed
• Which protection systems are appropriate for each scenario
• How to use safety equipment properly
• How to supervise employees to prevent falls
• What fall protection training is required
OSHA separates fall protection into several categories that employers can choose from, depending on the type of work they are doing:
• Elimination or substitution: Eliminate the hazard by lowering the work surface or
substitute a process so the fall hazard can be avoided.
• Passive fall protection: Separate workers from the hazard with guardrails, covers,
barricades, or nets.
• Fall restraint: Secure the worker to an anchor with a rope short enough to prevent falling.
• Fall arrest: Stop the worker’s fall after it has begun.
• Administrative controls: Warn workers to avoid approaching the fall hazard.
According to OSHA fall protection standards, the employer decides what is appropriate for a particular workplace situation. However, OSHA has its own suggestions in the manual. They also require employers to protect their employees from falling objects using toe boards, barricades, or screens. A fall protection training program is required for employees to learn how to recognize and minimize fall hazards. You can learn more about OSHA fall protection from their website.
As one of the leading causes of injury or death in the construction industry, there is no such thing as too much fall protection. At Molin Concrete Products, we developed our own program to go above and beyond OSHA’s standards. We aim to protect our people, prevent injury, and make precast concrete installation a smoother process. We know that with the proper measures in place, work can become safer and even easier.
You can learn more about our installation process by visiting our Installation Services Page.
Want to learn more about our detailed Fall Protection Program or have a construction project you need help on?