Be Safe: Common Fall Hazards and How Can You Prevent Them

Date Publish: Jul 03, 2014

People slip and fall for many reasons wherever they may be. Fortunately, falls can be prevented. In your home, you can prevent falling down the stairs by providing handrails and watching out for any objects that you might step on. In nursing care institutions, such as a residential care home in Horsham, they may do everything possible to prevent their elderly patients from slipping or falling, such as ground floor bedrooms, slip-resistant or carpeted floors, or beds with guardrails for those who need them. While in the construction industry, they are mandated under the law to assess any fall hazards and provide preventive systems to ensure that workers are safe from falls.

If you are in the construction industry, here are common fall hazards and the steps to take to ensure your workers are safe from them:

CATEGORIES OF FALLS

In many workplaces or sites, a number of lost time, injuries, and fatalities are caused by falls, including:

  • Falls on the work surface, such as slips, and trips
  • Falls from heights, such as from stairs, ladders, ramps; from one work level to the other, and from the edge of a work level
  • Falls against or onto an object
  • Falls from moving vehicle/equipment
  • Fall into or through an opening, such as a manhole or wall openings

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

Prevent Falls from Heights

  • Barrier systems or guardrails should be provided to prevent falls from heights within interior and exterior spaces. When it comes to fall prevention, guardrails should be your first option. There are many uses of guardrail system in building construction or other construction sites, such as those used along stairways, balconies, near the edges of elevated floors, edges of roofs on buildings, building edges, other open edges, and wall or ground openings.
  • Scaffoldings should be erected on solid footing and be installed properly by a trained a competent team and regularly inspected every week. Make sure that they are rigid, sound, and sufficiently capable of carrying its own weight. They should be also be able to carry four times the maximum intended load without displacement or settling. Moreover, they must be fitted with midrails, guardrails, and toeboards.
  • Take precautions to prevent your workers falling from the ladder or board. You can use edge protection, such as safety barrier fencing, safety harnesses, or safety netting where the barrier is not feasible. Be sure that your crawling boards or roof ladders span at least three purlines or at least 600mm wide or more when the job requires it.

Prevent Trips, Slips, and Falls

  • If your stairways have at least four or more risers or rising over 30 inches, you must provide at least one handrail or guardrails or both sides. Trips, slips, and falls on stairways are a primary source of injuries and fatalities among construction workers.
  • For your exterior walking surface, use materials that are not susceptible to elevation changes caused by freeze or thaw cycles.
  • Ensure that adequate illumination - both natural and artificial - for all of your interior and exterior areas is provided.

Whether at home, a Horsham residential care home, the office, at a construction site, or anywhere, safety is very important. You must practice a culture of safety and provide preventative systems to ensure that anyone may be safe while staying within your premises.


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