Whenever we show this poster to people we are immediately met with a few giggles followed almost as immediately by a few gasps. It does not take people long to grasp the horror of the picture we are trying to paint here. And yet, for some reason, it takes us much longer for that same message to translate to everyday work. How do we know this? Because once again, OSHA has listed the fall protection standard as the most cited for violations.
On top of that I see workers who should be wearing fall protection (fall arrest gear) bu are not wearing it at all. Just this week alone, I saw a couple construction workers in a personnel work platform (man basket) attached to a telehandler not wearing fall protection. On another worksite, I saw two men in a boom lift wearing fall protection but not tied off (while one of them stood on the rails of the basket to reach for something–another “no-no!”); and as I type this I can see a couple workers out my window on some new construction doing roof work without fall protection.
Once again, among OSHA’s top ten list of the most cited violations across the country, Fall Protection (1926.501) is number one. “Yeaaahh!” Except being number one in this case is nothing to celebrate. In fact, not only is it bad, it is incomprehensible because the the looming question on OSHA’s mind and on the minds of all people involved in safety is why does something like this continue to top the charts year after year? What more do we need to do? How many falls, injuries, deaths, fines is it going to take before employers start training and protecting their workers? Whether you are working on roofs or in aerial lifts, fall arrest gear is required. So don’t be the fall guy; don’t be the guy who knows he or his crew needs training but shrugs it off; don’t be the guy who wears it but doesn’t tie off to an designated anchor point; don’t be the guy who ignores the requirement to inspect it; and don’t be the guy who knows better but still stands on the railings of an aerial lift or leans over the scaffolding.
How is it we have not learned our lesson and work sites continue to ignore fall protection standards? It is time to change. I hope this poster helps.
- OSHA Fall Protection Standard: 29 CFR 1926.501, Fall Protection for Construction, among others; 1910.66 Appendix C, for General Industry among others
- Canada Fall Protection Standard: CAN/CSA-Z259.2.5-12; among other standards – Fall arresters and vertical lifelines