Reversing the Statistics on Worker Fatalities
By JOHN CORRIVEAU
The 2007 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show, once again, that fatal falls are on the increase. Since the initial release of OSHA 1926.500 Fall Protection Guidelines for the Construction Industry in 1998, fatal falls have increased every year except 2003.
New Standards Pave The Way For Improved Safety
Ten years later we haven’t made any progress. The number of OSHA citations for fall protection violations and their related fines are consistently among the top three and continue to increase from year to year. Fines for fall protection violations in 2008 reached as high as $877,000.
Hopefully this will change with the release of the new ANSI Z359.1 standards that took effect in November of 2007. This standard provides the guidelines and tools to develop a complete fall protection program and increase worker safety by mandating the introduction of new snap hooks and a new style of Y-lanyards. An entire family of new of standards is now available for under $400, through the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) with membership. Visit www.asse.org for more information.
Another family of standards dealing with horizontal lifelines; engineered systems; leading edge, self-retracting lifelines and more, is slated for completion in early 2009. This next family of standards will also help educate workers with regard to the dangers of “at-foot-level” anchorages and the equipment required for those exposures. Even though we now have stronger gates on our snap hooks, which help reduce burst-out, we can still have roll-out with an auto-locking carabiner.
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Knowledge of the New ANSI Fall Protection Standards Is A Must
By JOHN CORRIVEAU
Striving to maintain a “best in class” fall protection program can be an ongoing battle. Factors such as budget, employees or management can stall the process. Add in gravity, and you have the potential for a major loss.
I have worked with many companies, from smaller family-owned to Fortune 500, and have had the privilege of assisting with many best-in-class programs over the past 35+ years.
We recently responded to a call from a company where an employee had a near-fatal fall. The wrong height had been chosen as an anchorage point and the employee fell into a chemical vat. This resulted in an insurance claim that is still active and currently exceeds $4 million in damages. A review of the company’s fall protection program revealed many deficiencies.
It is critical to devote both time and money to understanding and implementing the new and proposed ANSI standards for fall protection. Falls are the number-one cause of all workers’ comp claims and liability losses in the workplace. The average cost of a fall from between 15-30 feet is $750,000- $1 million dollars. A complete fall protection program, based on the current standards, and supported by the proper equipment, systems and training, will protect businesses and their employees from devastating psychological, physical and financial losses. This translates into an immediate return on investment.
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Instead of the traditional tripod, hoist systems from Unique Concepts Ltd. rest on four feet to help keep workers safe during confined-space entries
By Erik Gunn
Working in underground confined spaces requires adequate training, an alert, attentive crew, and the right equipment. Confined-space gear consists of a stable hoist to lower workers safely into the work area, and monitors to make sure the air is breathable.
The Safety Division of Milwaukee Rubber Products, based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., distributes confined-space entry gear that includes hoists and bases manufactured by Unique Concepts Ltd. (A Capital Safety Co.), based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Unique Concepts Ltd. (UCL) design is distinctive because, instead of a tripod, it incorporates a four-point, modular design for greater stability. Legs that can be adjusted to various widths allow one unit to be deployed in a variety of situations.
A demonstration of a model of the UCL Advanced Safety Systems hoist, along with monitors manufactured by BW Technologies Ltd. and Industrial Scientific Corp., was conducted March 15 on the premises of Lighthouse Safety LLC, a consulting practice in Brookfield, Wis. Giving the demonstration were Milwaukee Rubber Products representative Dennis Noble and Lighthouse Safety representatives John Corriveau and Brian Corcoran.
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Fall Protection Goes Beyond Current and Future Standards
To reduce employee injury and significant financial loss, adopting the ANSI standards is a must. ANSI standards will take your business above and beyond OSHA fall protection regulations, allowing you to provide your workers with the utmost fall protection safety. The American National Standards Institute regulates the injuries incurred from falls, and because of this, frequently enacts new standards to keep your workers and business safe. The ANSI Z359.1 standard was introduced in 1992 and then revised in 1999. This standard addressed the variety of equipment being developed throughout the Fall Protection industry.
Originally, this standard included fall arresters, harnesses, lanyards, anchorage connectors, lifelines, and more. Smaller components of this equipment include rope, connectors, straps, thread, and thimbles. The ANSI Z359.1 standard pertained to the fall arrest equipment being used in General Industry. Note, the Construction Industry has its own standards to comply to, meaning the ANSI Z359.1 does not apply to their specific industry. Regardless of the applicable field, Lighthouse Safety has the expertise needed to help you adhere to every fall protection regulation and become ANSI compliant.
Contact our ANSI Experts to learn how we can help your business exceed the current standards and meet future safety needs.
OSHA Standards are the Minimum Standards for Safety
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, sets the minimum standards for fall protection. OSHA regulations are rarely revised or modified. Their standards require industries to have the appropriate fall protection systems properly installed for workers facing fall hazards. OSHA standards also require the users of fall protection equipment to be properly supervised, use safe work procedures, and have training in the proper selection, use and maintenance of all fall protection systems.
Going Above and Beyond ANSI Standards will make You Best-In-Class
ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) standards do not constitute governing laws and are frequently updated and improved. These standards were made to give companies the resources to go above and beyond the safety standards and further reduce potential fall injuries and fatalities. They also help save businesses millions of dollars in lawsuits and worker’s comp payments resulting from falls. The ANSI Z359 fall protection code, introduced in 2007, addresses safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems, subsystems, and components of the fall protection equipment being used in general industry. This code covers 17 Fall Protection related standards to ensure your business and workers are operating with the utmost safety around fall hazards.
Contact our Fall Protection Specialists for more information on OSHA and ANSI Fall Protection standards.
Anchors, Harnesses, Retractable Lanyards, and More
Roof Top Fall Protection Systems are required by OSHA to access roofs for general maintenance, servicing HVAC units, and more. Roof edges, skylights, and multi-level roofs are only a few of the many hazards on roof tops which need Fall Protection Systems in place for safety. Guardrails on the edges of roofs will prevent falls by putting a barrier between the worker and the fall hazard. Fall Restraint mechanisms, including anchors and other lifeline devices, are additional ways to prevent falls.
Anchors can be temporarily or permanently attached to the roof, allowing lifelines to be made. Lifelines can then be attached to your worker’s harness, giving them mobility while reducing the risk of falling. For people who have to work on the edges of a roof, there is fall protection equipment which will stop a fall after it happens. However, this is the least preferred form of fall protection. Despite the fact it will prevent the worker from falling to the ground, small injuries may occur due to the fall.
ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Code requires fall arrest systems, subsystems and their components to adhere to certain safety regulations. Lighthouse Safety builds you a customized OSHA Fall Protection System, ensuring you are following all OSHA Fall Protection regulations. We help you become best-in class by also adhering to ANSI fall protection requirements. Reduce the risk of falls and you will not only save your business millions of dollars in lawsuits and workers comp, you will also save the lives of your workers.