Health & Safety

August 29, 2014

Avoiding hazards, using right equipment good fall prevention

Senior Airman MARCY COPELAND
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5-140821-F-LC301-009
As summer comes to a close and the fall season looms, relief from heat is right around the corner, and working inside or outdoors is a welcomed idea.

As the heat dies down and fall rolls in, the chores left abandoned during summer resurface. With the upcoming holidays, decorations are almost assured to go up inside and outside, even at work.

As beautiful as some of these decorations and housing projects can be, one still needs to be concerned with safety. Safety shouldn’t be thought about only during the fall, which leads into the holiday season, but year round at work and at home.

According to Occupational Health and Safety Administration, nearly 2,000 people are injured every day while using a ladder, and as many as 100 of them will suffer a long-term disability. Out of the 2,000 people, one fatality will occur.

Fall prevention vs. fall protection is a major concern for employers and family members, with the most emphasis being on prevention. The goal is to try and prevent a fall all together rather than protecting people from a fall. Keeping one self-protected is still recommended, of course.

Fall prevention is making sure a work area or home is safe from falling hazards such as objects lying in walk ways or wet floors. The biggest concern with falling hazards is the use of ladders.

“A good portion of mishaps occur when a person is either alone or using the wrong size ladder for the work being performed,” said Staff Sgt. Jason De Jesus, 56th Fighter Wing Safety ground safety tech. “Make sure the appropriate size ladder is being used. The wrong size ladder can cause a person to over-reach which can lead to a fall. A two-man system is always a good idea. One person holding the ladder will help keep the person climbing it steady.”

Always wear the right safety equipment in the event that a fall may occur. Depending on the type of work and how high the person will be while performing the work will determine the correct size and height of the ladder and if the use a personal fall arrest system and a harness for anchoring is required. Make sure the ladder has been set up properly and equipment is used safely.

According to OSHA, the three-step prevention program is a nationwide campaign to help raise awareness about the hazards of falls. Step one is to plan ahead to get the job done safely. Step two is to provide the right equipment and step three is to train everyone how to safely use the equipment.

These methods can be applied at home as well to keep everyone safe and to reduce the chance of a fall.




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