Establishing a Culture of Safety: Gorbel's Fall Protection Guide

Emma Percy
| Oct 17, 2019

Gorbel Overhead Fall Protection

"Falls are among the most common causes of serious work related injuries and deaths. Employers must set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls."

Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)

Every year since 2012 fall protection violations have earned the top spot on OSHA's Top 10 list of most cited violations. In 2017, there were 6,887 total violations cited by OSHA, highlighting the need for warehouse companies to improve their fall protection measures. Failure to make fall protection a top priority can result in harsh penalties and fines for your company. Even more important, inadequate fall protection can put your business at a higher risk for employee injury and death. Below are seven ways your company can make fall protection a top priority in 2019.

"To build a thriving safety culture, companies need to focus on both the procedures and processes that guide their operations, as well as the attitudes and behaviors of every employee. It's not as simple as creating new workplace rules. It involves a new way of thinking about fatality and injury prevention."

Grover Hardin, EHS Today 

Mark Ward with EHS Today defines a culture of safety as the "collective values, beliefs, attitudes and norms that shape individual safety-related behaviors in an organization." Establishing a culture of safety starts with the active participation of senior management and stakeholders. Senior managers must then secure the buy-in of supervisors, who must secure a commitment to safety from front-line employees. 

Identifying Your Hotspots for Falls

Once you and your employees are fully committed to optimizing safety, the next step in the fall protection process is to identify the areas in your warehouse where falls are most likely to occur. Here are some of the locations where fall risk is the highest:

  • Mezzanines: A growing number of warehouses are using mezzanines to increase their storage space. Unfortunately, not all mezzanines are structurally sound and many do not feature signs that indicate the mezzanine's load capacity. As a result, mezzanines can become overcrowded and dangerous for employees who are loading and unloading materials. 
  • Loading docks25% of all warehouse injuries take place on loading docks. Many of these injuries are sustained when employees and delivery personnel fall from docks during loading and unloading, or when delivery trucks separate from the dock. Falls are even more likely when loading dock surfaces become wet or slippery due to rain or snow.
  • Skylights and other holes: A growing number of facilities feature skylights to help provide natural light. OSHA considers skylights to be roof holes, which present danger to employees and visitors. Pits or holes around construction areas also present increased fall risks to employees and patrons, highlighting the need for fall protection. 

Click here to continue reading Gorbel's Fall Protection Guide.

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