I just had a call from a framing contractor saying that one of their employees fell from the trusses of a two story home. As you can imagine this type of incident usually results in serious injuries or even death, yet in this case the employee who fell was relatively fine.
You see, this contractor recently worked with the “Safety Partnership” to develop a task specific fall protection plan for their framing operations. To do this we partnered with their contractors to place simple fall hazard controls.
One of these controls was to cover stairway openings so that if an employee fell he/she would not fall through the opening to the ground. (I.e. they limited their fall distance from around 25 to 8 feet).
In this case their plan paid off. When the employee fell from the trusses he landed on the cover probably saving his life.
Now the contractor’s workers compensation coverage will not be affected, the news vans did not arrive, OSHA did not investigate or issue fines, the crew continued framing, and most importantly a family was able to see their father at the end of the day.
I hope that you realize that the successful practice of safety does not have to be expensive or time consuming. Simply using a cover can make all of the difference in the world!
If you use covers however here is what OSHA requires:
- Covers must be capable of supporting at least twice the weight being put on it. (Make it strong)
- Covers must be secured to prevent displacement. (Nail it)
- Covers must be marked or color coded. (Label them with the word “HOLE” or “COVER”).