With 120 million workplace accidents happening every year, safety continues to be a paramount issue when discussing industrial workplaces. The most common of those accidents and cause of injury are falls. When safety measures fail and accidents do occur, some employees have to stop working for periods of time, while others may have to stop working altogether. Both situations are devastating for the employee as well as for the business.
Discussions around workplace safety typically begin with fall protection. That is, how do we stop workers from being harmed if a fall does occur? The answer here is usually some form of protective equipment, harness or rescue plan to get a person down from a dangerous hanging position. But addressing fall protection alone isn’t enough. In fact, it can be a huge mistake for businesses.
You also need to be thinking about your fall prevention plan — that is, preventing a fall from happening in the first place, not just having a plan in place should one happen.
Preventing the Worst-Case Scenario
Fall protection doesn’t stop workers from falling in the first place. Yes, you have a safety net to cushion the fall, but the situation immediately becomes more risky, more threatening and more expensive. And it doesn’t address the root problem.
Fall prevention includes having a plan and equipment in place to stop slips, trips and their subsequent falls. This includes having safety cages around vehicle hatches when workers are atop trucks or railcars. It includes safety gangways that help workers get on and off vehicles while loading. And it includes features across products like swing gates covering gaps, non-slip treads on surfaces or easy-to-grab handrails along platforms and loading racks.
In an ideal workplace safety scenario, accident prevention would be the first issue addressed. It focuses on how a dangerous event can be avoided entirely, and it’s an approach that safety inspectors, leaders and managers are beginning to take first.
SafeRack Protects Through Prevention
At SafeRack, we recommend that fall protection be a part of your larger prevention solution. Yes, it’s important to install a cable that will catch a worker mid-fall and stop them from hitting the ground. But why not install a gate that covers the opening from which they fell?
Fall prevention is a fuller solution, and therefore it can often cost more upfront. But over time, it could mean time, resources, employees — and even a business — saved. When you look at the big picture, the benefits truly outweigh the upfront cost. Rescue plans can be costly, but taking this proactive approach means you won’t have to actually enact those plans.
Fall prevention also requires more forethought and planning than protection. You must take the time to analyze what can happen and has happened in previous accidents and devise solutions to account for every possibility. It’s the end-to-end safety solution. Whether it’s implementing a new piece of equipment or enforcing a safety rule to employees, there are many routes through which your business can achieve full accident prevention.
Solutions That Can Help
How does SafeRack employ the philosophy of accident prevention? By designing and providing products that are easy to set up, easy to adjust and repurpose, and carry a high degree of versatility for all kinds of situations.
An example of this would be our safety swing gates, which close off openings or gaps through which workers could accidentally fall. Constructed with high-grade aluminum, the product is lightweight yet extremely strong and durable. Workers will have no problem repurposing safety gates around the workplace when they’re needed in a new area. And their adjustability of 20 inches allows for them to be installed across any kind of opening — it takes just a few moments to adjust the length and tighten the bolts to fix the gate length.
Another great feature of the swing gate is its easily adjustable swing tension. Most gates have turn-based mechanisms based on springs, which are subject to heavy wear and tear over time. If the springs happen to malfunction on the day when an employee accidentally trips, it can mean disaster. Ours use a tensioner, which doesn’t stretch out or bend over time. It also allows users to adjust the resistance of the gate to meet different workplace standards.
We know fall prevention is a core principle to workplace safety. Nothing is more important than keeping your teams — and our own team — safe, healthy and secure.