When it comes to power plant safety, having a fall protection plan is a must; having a fall PREVENTION plan decreases the likelihood of a power plant accident. Set your safety record apart from your competition.
Each year without fail, fall protection is a focus for regulatory safety agencies. In 2014, fall protection is included in Federal OSHA’s Focus Four initiative, the Plan-Provide-Train project and National Safety Stand Down event.
Specialty welding and electrical power plant services such as: Isolated phase bus, non-seg bus, and cable bus installation and maintenance are almost always performed overhead. Crews are constantly climbing up and down ladders and working on scaffolding much over four feet in the air. While working under these conditions, it is important to have a preventative fall protection plan applicable to each unique project risk factor.
Where to begin?
5 critical fall protection tips that have supported our record breaking industry safety rating:
Injury avoidance is the number one reason to invest and implement a fall protection training program. According to the Department of Labor Statistics, in 2010 there were 264 fall fatalities out of 774 total fatalities in construction. Falls from heights can cause serious and severe injury to your employees. Even if a fatality is avoided, there is a very high likelihood of fractures, upper and lower extremity involvement and even traumatic brain injuries. Think of the surface your employees work above – it’s hard and unforgiving. Due to the high risk factor, OSHA fines are not soft when it comes to fall protection program failures.
Regulatory fines are one of the most costly ways state and federal safety agencies promote fall protection programs. Compliance officers have the right to inspect your facility or jobsite without notice. They might show up due to imminent danger or a special emphasis program, and in either case, when the compliance office reports findings, citations and penalties can be proposed. Penalties range from: other than serious violations = $7000 to willful violations = $70, 000.Combining the number of employees exposed to the fall hazard, the probability that death or serious physical harm could result with the employer’s responsibility, could result in fines in the neighborhood of $240,000.
Fall Protection Program. To avoid injury and OSHA fines, many experienced isolated phase bus and non-seg bus service contractors have prepared or are asked to provide documentation of a fall protection training program plan. What is your contractor able to provide? Contact us for our fall protection plan.
OSHA provides many helpful resources to assist in creating and implementing a Fall Protection program. Make sure to include the detailed regulatory requirements in your policy and aim to exceed compliance.
Preventative Protection Plan. In addition to a documented fall protection plan, it’s important to implement a preventative fall protection strategy.
Employees should have regular fall protection training and educational lessons that include:
- Educating your employees on recognizing fall hazards and the procedure for when they are encountered
- Encourage and educate reporting of near miss incidents to ensure it is clear when fall protection equipment should be used in prevention of future near misses
- Have a discussion on fall protection PPE; be aware what items work best and if there are new innovations that could be utilized
- Conduct employee training not just on the policy and their requirements but also bring up and dispel reasons for non-compliance
- Implement task specific job safety briefing before the start of each project
A key step to preventing injuries is to keep your employees focused on doing their job in a safe manner while keeping them involved an motivated during the process.
Provide necessary tools. As an employer, it is also very important to choose the right work equipment and ensure that this equipment is functioning correctly and kept well maintained. PPE necessary to perform each job should be provided and readily available to the employee.
Personal fall arrest systems need to have three vital components that make up a complete fall protection system. Remember the ABCs: Anchorage, Body support, Connection. Each one must be in place and properly used to provide maximum worker protection.
Building a superior fall protection program or even starting from scratch doesn’t have to be difficult. Remember to focus your efforts on preventing employees from being injured by creating a comprehensive and comprehendible plan that is engaging and requires frequent educational training initiatives.