Preventing Falls Starts with Training

"Once they understand the risk, they'll be more supportive of your solution," a presenter said during a Safety 2014 educational session about fall protection.

ORLANDO -- Workers who are trained and well-informed about the risk assessment profile of their work site will be safer on the job, two presenters said during a June 10 session at ASSE's Safety 2014 conference. Craig Jalecka, P.E., CSP, fall protection project manager at LJB Inc., and Jason Allen, CSP, EHS supervisor at Amway Corporation, teamed up for the "Making the Most of Your Fall Protection Program" session.

They discussed fall injury and fatality statistics, management's roles and responsibilities, hazard identification and evaluation, hazard abatement, the hierarchy of controls, training, and fall protection program evaluation.

Jalecka noted that falls from ladders, roofs, and scaffolds usually are the leading causes of fall injuries and deaths. "The majority of ladders are not compliant, in my experience," he said. Some members of the audience said their workplaces also involve working atop aircraft and on aerial lifts. Jalecka discussed a variety of ways to identify fall hazards, including Job Safety Analysis, fall statistics from that workplace, a comprehensive risk assessment, a walk-through of the facility, and an employee suggestion program.

Allen discussed some fall protection challenges his team has faced and how they solved them, and he addressed the importance of training and communication. "Once they understand the risk, they'll be more supportive of your solution," he said. "Training generates awareness. When you train people for the first time, they're more aware of their surroundings." He cited another benefit: Trained and informed employees will come forward to alert their supervisors and safety managers about hazards they've identified.

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