Did you know that same level slip, trips
and falls are the second leading cause of lost time work injuries in the U.S.
Sprains and strains are the number one hazards when it comes to floor openings.
Employers are required to identify hazards, like floor safety hazards within
their job sites and put into plans into place to eliminate the risks.
OSHA defines a hole as a gap or void 2 or
more inches in its least dimension in a floor or other walking/working surface.
Covers are to be used to address the hazards associated with holes, to prevent
tripping in, and stepping into. With that in mind the covers must be:
Capable of supporting, without failure, at least twice the weight of employees, equipment, and materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one time.
The cover must completely cover the opening, be secured in place by (nails, screws, etc) to prevent accidental displacement by wind, equipment or employees.
Covers must be marked with “HOLE” or “ COVER” to provide warning of the hazard. Everyone on the project must be made aware of the presence of all holes in the work areas.
Here are a few easy things you can do to
avoid, and help prevent slip, trips, and falls.
Pay attention when walking. Avoid talking, texting on your phone, or carrying materials or plans that restrict your view of the path in front of you.
Practice good housekeeping, and don’t be in a hurry to complete your daily job task.
Bottom line the DANGER is very real. The
CONTROLS are very simple. This is a HAZARD that should never be allowed to
Jordan Foster Construction and our subcontractors participated in the National Stand Down for Fall Prevention across the state of Texas last week.
Jordan Foster Construction partnered with the regional OSHA
offices and Vendors to assist in making these events spectacular, in spite of
the weather conditions that were encountered in some of our locations.
We want to take the time to say Thank You to the following
Alex Porter, Area Director, US DOL OSHA, San
Antonio Area Office
Abraham Arzola, Compliance Assistance
Specialist, US DOL OSHA, El Paso Area Office
Jim Shelton, Compliance Assistance Specialist,
US DOL OSHA, Houston North Area Office
HD Supply – Ben Pratt
Border Construction Specialties – James Harrald
MSA – BJ Shrader
Representatives from Lawless Group of Houston
Representatives from Guardian Fall Protection
Representatives from SafeWaze
Representatives from Hilti Tools
Topics focused on Fall Prevention and Protection, to include
ladder safety, proper construction of guardrails, basic Scissor Lift awareness
and proper installation and use of a Personal Fall Arrest System.
However, we also took the opportunity to address other
safety topics including:
Electrical Safety and
Fire Extinguisher Training
Commercial Division – El Paso, TX – Plaza Hotel Renovation & Parking
Our Partnership with OSHA at the Plaza Hotel Renovation and
Parking Garage project has been an amazing experience. Over the last 8 months we have been able to
draw on the wonderful resources of our Compliance Assistance Specialist,
Abraham Arzola. Last week was no
He attends many of our monthly stand downs to help continue
to build the strong relationship we have with OSHA. Here you see him talking with John Goodrich,
President Infrastructure Division and Damian Alvarez, EHS Manager.
Border Safety Systems presented the fall protection
awareness training to the JFC and subcontractor employees.
Infrastructure Group – El Paso, TX
As we prepare to begin the “Montana Project” in El Paso that
includes the construction of several bridges we wanted to take the opportunity
to gather most of our Infrastructure employees together to talk to them about
the importance of fall protection.
Border Safety Services performed the fall protection demonstration
along with BJ Schrader with MSA.
Multifamily Division – Houston, TX – SBC Kingwood
Our multifamily division took the opportunity to invite Mr.
Jim Shelton, the Compliance Assistance Specialist for the OSHA – Houston North
Area Office to meet with SBC Kingwood Project team members and
subcontractors. In spite of 5” of rain
the day of the event there were 70 total attendees for a total of 2 hours of
training including Ladder Safety, Fall Prevention & Personal Fall Arrest
Systems presented by Lawless Group of Houston.
Additionally, the local representative from Hilti demonstrated some of
the tools that can be used for Respirable Crystalline Silica Exposure
Commercial Division – San Antonio, TX – Thompson Hotel @ the Riverwalk
Our commercial division in San Antonio, TX took the
opportunity to spend a week focusing on safety training that ranged from Fall
Prevention and Protection to general safety awareness.
Mr. Alex Porter, Area Director for the OSHA San Antonio Area
Office joined us on Thursday for the “official” Fall Protection Stand Down and
spent time talking with our team members and all of our subcontractor workers
about the importance of fall prevention and protection.
Infrastructure Division – Austin, TX
Like many of our locations, our Austin Infrastructure
Division fought weather complications, ultimately deciding to schedule the
meeting at the Office and Shop location rather than meeting on projects that
were rained out.
Ben Pratt with HD Supply presenting the Fall Prevention and
Protection Training to all of the workers.
The first full week of May is dedicated to Fall Prevention. This focus is for the Construction Industry, but Falls occur in every industry, so regardless of what industry you work in, why not take a moment to talk with your employees about the potential fall hazards in their workplace and at their homes and educate them on how to prevent injuries and fatalities related to falls.
Approximately 1/3 of the construction fatalities in 2017 were the result of falls. And all of those fatalities were preventable.
Fatalities from falls don’t have to occur from a great height, they can occur from a fall on the same level…all it takes is for the victim to fall in such a way that they strike their head on something, so don’t ignore the hazards associated with:
Ladders – Step ladders, Straight ladders, and even Step stools
Holes in the walking surface
Changes in elevations – Curbs, mechanical troughs
Housekeeping – Trash, Spilled liquids, Mud or Ice accumulation
OSHA has put together a collection of resource materials that you can use for your Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction this week. Click here. These resources aren’t exclusive to this week…so use them through out the year to reinforce your message.
The construction industry doesn’t hold the exclusive rights to fall hazards or the fatalities associated with them. So, if you work in other industries make sure you take the time to look at the work areas and assess them for fall hazards. Some of the common potential hazards that come to mind when I think about other industries are:
Stairs – do your workers properly use the stairs?
Ladders – do your workers properly use ladders?
Loading docks – are your loading docks properly protected?
are all of your materials properly stored so they don’t become tripping hazards?
are all spills cleaned up properly so they don’t become slip hazards?
Now, for the one that hits home. Literally, at home. Think about all the things that you may do around your home that could create a fall hazard.
Do you use a ladder when you need to change that burned out light bulb, or do you stand on a chair? If you do use a ladder is it tall enough or are you standing on the top of it?
Do you use a step stool to reach the items stored on the top shelf of your kitchen cabinets, or are you standing on a chair, or, even worse, the counter?
Do you use the ladder properly when you are hanging your Holiday lights?
Falls are a major cause of serious injury and fatalities in the U.S. And they are ALL preventable.
For those that have never participated in the National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction it can seem a bit daunting. But, when you click the link above you will find a whole host of resources to use. Whether you are a large contractor that has employees exposed to many types of fall hazards, or a small contractor that simply works from ladders, this is a great opportunity to take the time to gather your forces and focus their attention on the specific fall hazards they face during the normal course of their work day.
Or 15… Your Stand-down doesn’t have to take hours. It really is meant to be a concentrated focus on fall hazards in the construction work place that are specific to your workers. Get them involved.
What are the hazards you see?
How can we better address those hazards?
Are the tools provided appropriate?
Maybe you provide a ladder to work from but would a one-man lift be safer? quicker?
If you work at heights, have you addressed falling objects? Do you need to look into purchasing tool lanyards.
These small questions can really help you narrow your focus and address the real concerns that your workers face every day.