Five commonly overlooked fall hazards

Protection tips to improve safety in your workplace

Five commonly overlooked fall hazards
Mia Barnes

Fall protection is important in many workplaces. Governments are stressing the importance of prioritizing life and well-being, but some companies may still overlook safety aspects that can compromise workers.

Defining fall safety hazards

Fall hazards can have various interpretations. The Government of Canada defines falling hazards as factors that may occur while working at heights and cause an accident. Some examples involve external elements like poor weather. However, it also recognizes more common scenarios, such as unsafe mannerisms and unstable grounds.

Falls are common in industries like construction, transportation, mining and the like. Rather than allowing these occurrences to happen, it’s important to focus on prevention and rescue measures for the health and safety of workers everywhere.

Applying protection to fall hazard examples

Canadian companies will typically prepare for certain fall situations. For example, icy surfaces are cleared from the work site to prevent sudden slips. However, a variety of commonly overlooked hazards still need to be addressed.

Lack of fall protection training

There are many fall protection gears employed, but their importance is not discussed enough. Workers need the extra knowledge to understand how to use their equipment to secure their well-being during operations.

There’s also the matter of movements on sight. For example, lifting with your back can throw off your balance and cause you to fall. The back pain that comes with it may also spike when you’re in a more precarious position on site. Rather than placing pressure on your back, use your legs and knees as support, or suggest other modes of transportation.

Unplanned rescue procedures

Fall hazards can be prevented but prepare for the worst-case scenario. Consider how you will get someone out of a tight spot and treat them if an accident occurs. If they have a safety harness on, pull them back up. Ladders and ropes can help you safely reach victims.

If a worker is unconscious after a fall, it’s important to call in rescuers who can haul them back up safely. Keep emergency services on speed dial to get quick medical attention.

Fragile roofs

Roofing is one of the most important parts of a building’s structural integrity, but it can still be delicate and vulnerable to breaking during its early stages. Inclusions such as skylights are also quite fragile, leading to falls when stepping on them.

The best safety protection for fragile roofing is to utilize anchored safety belts. This can prevent the risk of totally falling on the site. Companies can also be selective in giving access to personnel and providing a more stable working platform on the premises.

Unsecured ladders

Ladders are vital tools for reaching heights. However, placement and a lack of security can cause workers to fall. Employ safety solutions like using the right ladder for the job and stabilizing the fixture's feet.

If you’re carrying something while climbing the ladder, opting for an aerial lift instead is best. This equipment is being positioned as a safer alternative when transporting crew and items. The global aerial work platform market was estimated at $17.46 billion in 2022.

Unguarded openings

Many falls often happen from a height, but about 65% of fall-related injuries occur on the same level. Workers may not have realized they were on the edge of a lower level or near an unguarded opening on the grounds during their shift.

Practice putting up safety tape to alert staff on site — use a bright red for visibility. You can also install guardrails to create a more durable boundary between these spaces.

Recognize fall protection safety

Many people overlook fall protection safety hazards. It’s time to focus on active recognition and prevention. Have precautions in place to minimize and eventually eliminate these incidents.