The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Preventing the Risk of Falling

Graham Marshall - Friday, March 22, 2013

According to the US National Safety Council, nearly 15,000 deaths in the USA result from falls each year.

So slips, trips and falls are a significant risk at work and at home.

Here are some tips to reduce the risk:

+   Wear shoes that provide good traction for the conditions;

+   Keep floors and stairs clear of debris and spilled liquids;

+   Only carry loads that you can see over;

+   Don't walk into a dark room - use a torch or turn on the lights;

+   Repair or replace broken or uneven flooring, pavement, tiling, carpet or floorboards;

+   Keep at least one hand on the handrail when using steps or stairs;

+   Don't jump from heights (e.g., from trucks or from loading docks);

+   Don't use "home-made" or makeshift ladders or steps to reach up high;

+   When climbing ladders, face to the front and use both hands when climbing;

+   Don't over-reach from a ladder;

+   Make sure only one person uses any ladder at a time;

+   Never approach to the top step of the ladder; and

+   Make sure ladders are "footed" on flat, stable ground and if possible, "tied-off" at the top.

Dangerous Use of Scaffolding

Graham Marshall - Monday, February 11, 2013

Regulation 6(3) of the UK Work at Height Regulations (2005) states: "Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury".

So why on earth did Stretford Scaffolding Ltd allow its workers onto an unsafe scaffold outside this row of terraced shops in Oldham (UK)?

 

As you can see, neither of the two men on the scaffold are wearing harnesses, despite working up to six metres above the ground.

There are also no guard rails on parts of the scaffold to prevent the workers falling.

Thankfully, this shoddy situation was spotted by a passing inspector from the UK HSE who issued an immediate Prohibition Notice and got the workers out of the danger zone.

Stretford Scaffolding Ltd, was then prosecuted and received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay costs of £1,849 after admitting a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Model Regulations for Work at Height

Graham Marshall - Saturday, October 20, 2012

Under new legislation to be introduced in Australia under the National Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) framework, a new prioritized process of risk management control shall be required from any person conducting a business or undertaking ("the duty holder"), when it is identified that there is a fall potential amongst workers undertaking an activity.

At the outset, the duty holder needs to determine if the work activity can be conducted at ground level or on a solid construction.  A solid construction means an area that has a structurally supportive surface with barriers at the edges and around any openings.  It must also have an even and readily-negotiable surface and gradient, as well as a safe means of entry and egress.

If it is not reasonably practicable to complete the work on the ground or from a solid construction, the duty holder must minimize the risk of falling by providing and maintaining a safe system of work that includes a fall protection device.

Depending on individual circumstances, a safe system of work may include the use of a temporary work platform, training, safe work procedures, safe sequencing of work, safe use of ladders, a permit system, signage, barriers or barricades, JHA and the use of a fall arrest system.

New Australian Regulations for Working at Height

Graham Marshall - Friday, October 05, 2012

For quite some time, in most States of Australia, there has been a height limit defined at two metres for falls from height. 

But the UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) was able to demonstrate as long ago as 2005 that 87 per cent of all serious injuries resulting from falls were the result of "low falls" below the two metre definition for working at height.

Under Australia's new model Workplace Health and Safety legislation, the two-metre height threshold has now been scrapped.

So, where work has to be carried out at any height above ground level, the duty holder needs to take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.

At the Risk Tool Box, we support this "risk-based" approach to managing working at height and to ensuring appropriate controls are in place, whatever the height off the ground.

To assist in identifying the appropriate controls for working at height, click here to find an appropriate Job Safety Analysis.

Pedestrian Risk Management

Graham Marshall - Monday, April 16, 2012

It's kind of dumb, but more injuries in workplaces all across the Globe are caused during the simple act of walking about than through any other mechanism.

It's not work at heights, excavation work, using powered tools or even work in confined spaces; the number one biggest cause of accidental injury occurs when people are simply walking through the work site and they slip, trip or fall.

This safety alert from the Marine Safety Forum (MSF) illustrates an incident in which a seaman broke his leg while simply walking along a wharfside.

It is a simple "one per-center", but always remember to use Think 6, Look 6 to manage the hazards in even the most mundane acts and behaviours.

 

 

 

Safety is no accident - catering

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Over the previous few days I've been posting links to some provocative OSHA safety adverts.

They make the good point that accidents don't just happen.

In every workplace, there are always hazards and associated triggering mechanisms that need to be properly identified and controlled.

Click here to see the fifth advert in the series.

To manage hazards and triggers at your work place, always use Think 6, Look 6.


Gangway safety

Graham Marshall - Sunday, April 24, 2011
Last week I blogged about the relative danger of 'walking' as an activity occuring in homes and workplaces.  You may recall that I mentioned that nearly 4,000 United States citizens die each year as a result of falls on steps and stairs.

Well, today I'm posting an incident investigation which shows a recent example of the potential for harm when the risk associated with steps and stairs are not managed appropriately.

This 'fall from height' incident occured when a ship worker attempted to jump one-metre to the ground from an ill-placed ships gangway. 

See the three pictures and review the incident investigation checklist below.

This picture shows the general position of the gangway.


Here you can see that the gangway ends about 1 metre short of the wharf.


In attempting to jump from the gangway, the injured person's foot became entangled in lines and netting causing him to fall face forward onto the wharf below.


To review the completed incident investigation checklist, simply click here.

To view the Australian Code of Practice on falls, click here.

Danger - Walking

Graham Marshall - Sunday, April 17, 2011

A recent study (Bakken et al, 2002) showed that over one million Americans visit a hospital each year as a result of falling on stairs.

Furthermore, 4,000 of those US citizens die each year as a result of those falls.

That number is about the same as the number of American pedestrians killed in collisions with vehicles.

It is twice the number of citizens killed in motor-cycle accidents.

Funnily enough (or ironically if you like), present day US building codes for stair risers (the vertical height of the stair) and depth of tread (the horizontally width of the stair) are based on a formula proposed by Frenchman, Francois Blondel in 1670.

Blondel based his formula on the stride-distance and foot-size of the average Frenchman living in the 1660s.

So US building codes for stairs are based on information that's almost 350 years old!

Even odder, for today's building codes, is that Blondel used a measurement known as "Royal Inches" which differ significantly from what we today consider to be the length of a modern inch.

So the fact that Frenchmen in the middle of the 1600s were a different size to modern Americans and the fact that the measurements used to define the ideal stair riser are so out-dated probably has something to do with all this harm!
Source: Bakken, Cohen, Hyde and Abele (2002).  Slips, Trips and Mis-steps and their Consequences.


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