Missouri workplace injury fall from working at heights. Missouri Workers Compensation Injury Lawyer
Missouri workplace falls from working at heights are the cause of many serious and fatal injuries each year.
There are many work activities that involve working at heights, including working with ladders, scaffolds, or platforms. Some not-so-obvious examples of working at heights include working over tanks or pits, working on the edges of elevated structures, and working on top of trucks or trailers.
The main risk of working at heights is falling – either people falling to the ground due to inadequate fall protection, or objects falling onto people who are on the ground due to improperly securing objects. Taking steps to protect yourself and your co-workers, particularly when working at heights, will help to avoid unfortunate accidents and injuries.
Federal OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) standards mandate the use of fall protection systems to protect workers from falls of greater than four (4) feet, including requiring that a standard guardrail or equivalent be installed along unprotected edges of open-sided floors, platforms, and runways greater than four (4) feet above the floor or lower level, and requiring fall protection at wall and floor openings of stairwells, chute openings, and ladder openings.
OSHA further requires use of a personal fall arrest system/safety harness under certain circumstances. A fall arrest system/safety harness is designed to stop the person (or objects) from free-falling a distance further than six (6) feet and hitting the ground or a lower platform. A safety harness consists of a D-ring anchor, connectors, and body harness. The body harness is designed to absorb the force of a fall through the shoulders, buttocks, legs, and torso. The body harness is designed to be used with safety lanyards, which are anchored or tied-off to a fixed structure above the worker’s body, and which can support up to five thousand (5,000) pounds of dead weight. Proper calculation of falling distance is needed in order to make sure that the correct length of lanyard is being used.
Federal OSHA mandates the use of fall arrest systems whenever the employee is six (6) feet above ground and it not protected by a guardrail or safety net, during the assembly or removal of scaffolding with incomplete handrails systems and more than ten (10) feet above the ground, and when using aerial equipment that raises the employee higher than six (6) feet. Personal safety harnesses are also required when working around openings and on any roof without handrails when the worker is less than six (6) feet from the edge. Additional considerations for “tying-off” depend on the kind of work being done and the kind of surface, such as working from trusses, beams, steep roofs, and floating or suspended scaffolding.
Keep in mind the following additional useful tips and good practices for using equipment when working at heights:
Inspect the ladder before and after EACH use; do not use faulty or defective ladders, or ladders that are not in proper working condition.
Use a ladder that is designed for the job or task for which it is intended
Keep ladders away from electrical wires
Tie off ladders at the top and secure ladders at the bottom to prevent slipping
Face the ladder while going up or coming down, and when working on it
Before climbing the ladder, clean the soles of shoes of any mud or debris to prevent from slipping on the ladder rungs
Avoid climbing ladders in wet or slippery conditions
Position ladders close to the work to avoid over-reaching
Open the stepladder spreader fully and lock it in place
Use a ladder that is designed for the job or task that it is intended for
Do not use the top tread, top shelf, or rear part of the steps as support
Face the stepladder while going up or coming down, and when working on the ladder
(3) Mobile Elevated Platforms
Use only on firm and level ground
Wear safety harnesses/fall arrest systems as required by local, state and federal regulations
Keep the platform within safe working limits, and note wind speed and appropriate weather conditions
(4) Fall Arrest Systems/Safety Harnesses
Use the right equipment for the job, AND use equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions
Make sure the equipment is safety-approved and meets American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety requirements
Only use equipment that is in good working condition
Anchor or tie-off at levels no lower than your waist to limit any fall to a maximum of four (4) feet
Do NOT tie-off or anchor to a pipe; instead, make sure to anchor to a substantial structure
Taking steps to protect yourself and your co-workers, particularly when working at heights, will help to avoid unfortunate accidents and injuries.
Missouri workplace injury fall from working at heights
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