Workplace safety rules are in place for a good reason: they prevent accidents and save lives. Ever since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued workplace guidelines in the 1970s, workplace accidents, injuries and fatalities have been decreasing. Falls and slips are some of the most common kinds of workplace accidents. Workplace safety rules that include training, safety equipment and regular testing of rigging equipment can all contribute to a safer workplace.
Workplace safety rules from OSHA
Slips and falls are the most frequent type of workplace accident. Especially for industries like construction, longshoring and marine, where the workfloor is at a height, workers are especially vulnerable to injuries resulting from falls. OSHA safety guidelines follow three steps: plan, provide, train.
Thanks to the implementation of such guidelines, workplace injuries have declined over the years. Injuries and illness have been reduced from a high of 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to 3.4 incidents per 100 workers in 2011. These guidelines help to keep workers safer while performing some of the most important and difficult jobs in the country.
Implementing the three steps
Planning for safety is the first step in overall workplace safety. To begin with, it is the employers? responsibility to incorporate safety measures in the workplace in the operational procedures. This can begin with a workplace evaluation from a worker safety point of view. Potential problems can be identified and compensated for, and safety equipment can be provided.
Providing safety equipment for workers and the workplace is the second step of the OSHA safety regulations. Again, it is the employer?s responsibility to provide the safety equipment that will be needed by workers. This can mean personal safety equipment as well as overall workplace safety.
Types of fall protection
Fall protection equipment can be of two types: individual and general workplace safety equipment. Individual safety equipment includes slings and ropes, while general workplace safety equipment can include scaffolding, guard rails, safety nets and ladders. All safety and rigging equipment must be regularly tested.
For industries such as construction, longshoring, warehousing, material handling and marine, where workers have to operate at considerable heights above floor level, any falls carry a serious risk of injury or worse. When workers operate at heights of six feet or more, they must be provided safety equipment.
Training is the third step of the OSHA safety guidelines. As important as providing the right safety equipment is training workers to use it correctly. Fall protection courses can be conducted on site or at training facilities. Regular testing of safety and rigging equipment is essential to ensure that they are working properly and will fulfill their function if and when necessary.