We took a STAND-Down to prevent falls

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

Some highly-skilled instructors and one dummy helped drive home the importance of proper fall protection training and equipment at a Safety Stand-Down event we hosted last Friday.

A packed house attended the free training led by experts from Honeywell Safety Products at our Ohio Center for Occupational Safety and Health in Pickerington. The event, held in conjunction with the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, was a huge success.

Mark Cangemi, a trainer with Honeywell Safety Products, started with an informative presentation highlighting OSHA’s rule updates to walking-working surfaces standards and establishing personal fall protection systems requirements.

He stressed that the key to fall prevention is the elimination of hazards, citing the mantra of:

– Eliminating hazards at the outset;
– Administrative controls;
– Personal protective equipment (PPE).

He reiterated that PPE is actually the last line of defense for fall prevention, and said, “Just using the equipment is not enough to save your life; you must also use it correctly.”

After the classroom portion of the training, attendees moved outdoors for a demonstration of falls with or without fall-arrest systems.

The demonstration, led by Cangemi and Honeywell’s Dave Gallegly, used a weighted dummy to show realistic re-enactments under various conditions.

Cangemi also demonstrated how to properly don body a body harness and what to do after a fall but before being rescued.

Earlier in the week, our Youngstown Customer Service Office staff worked with Boak & Sons, Inc. to have a Safety Stand-Down event in the Youngstown area. Boak & Sons hosted the event in its large warehouse complete with needed equipment, set-up and refreshments for 101 attendees from 31 companies.

  

Representatives from RETTEW of Lancaster, Pennsylvania provided the training. The 60-minute high-intensity training started at 7:30 a.m. to allow workers to attend before going to work. It covered the principles of fall prevention, fall protection and fall rescue.

BWC actively participated in numerous stand-down events across Ohio last week, including joining the Ohio Department of Transportation for stand-downs at four major highway bridge construction sites around the state. Work paused at these sites to discuss safety and fall protection with staff. We also participated in seven events in the Cincinnati area that totaled 600 employees, including 200 at one event alone.

Additionally, many safety councils got into the act by addressing fall prevention at their April meetings.  Eighteen councils in the Canton/Cambridge area are participating in a “safety council challenge” to see which one has the largest percentage of its members holding their own Stand-Down events during the month of May.

Stand-Down events like these are critical for stemming the tide of falls in the workplace. Cangemi reminded attendees at the Pickerington event that from 1992 to 2016 there were approximately two fatalities a day from workplace falls in the U.S; in 2016 there were 800 fatalities from workplace falls.

Nearly 30 percent of all claims filed with BWC are from fall injuries, and falls in Ohio result in an average of 14 fatalities a year. The majority of these incidents were preventable through awareness, training and proper use of equipment.

Want to see more from Safety Stand-Down events around the country? Check out this Twitter storify link.

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