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With the help of OSHA, workplace hazards and regulations have been firmly established to make sure safety is not only the top priority for employers but to help guide them in protecting their employees as best they can. When it comes to fall protection and confined spaces, in particular, there are some important practices and equipment that are necessary to consider.
Falls are the most common form of serious workplace injury, and employers must be strict about providing the necessary protection and safeguards when employees must work in areas with platforms, elevated workstations, or holes in the floor or wall. The best way to prevent falls is to spread awareness and provide supports, such as handrails or toe-boards. If there is a hole in the ground that an employee could accidentally walk into, the best thing to do is set up guards around the hole. This will not only draw attention to the area but will physically block the hole from foot traffic. No matter the height, fall protection is also a necessity if dangerous machinery is in the workplace.
By definition, a confined space is a small area that isn’t designed for human occupation but is large enough for workers to get into and perform certain jobs or maintenance. The entrances and exits are limited, and so, continuous occupancy is discouraged. Examples of confined spaces are manholes, tanks, tunnels, ductwork, or pipelines. As these are not designed with people in mind, some of the hazards that workers face include extreme heat, flowing liquids, moving solids, unhealthy air quality or a lack of air, and, potentially, a flammable atmosphere. These hazards vary depending on the confined space, of course.
An assortment of important gear has been created to fulfill the need for fall protection and confined spaces, and every employer should consider implementing this equipment. To prevent injuries from falling, especially at extreme heights, some of the best equipment to invest in are harnesses and accompanying lifelines that serve as a failsafe should an employee fall. These harnesses are designed to catch individuals and support their weight until they can be lowered safely. Versatile, portable guardrails are also available for use in any situation. As for confined spaces, the most important piece of equipment is the confined space tripod, which can help lower and retrieve employees from confined spaces and act as a failsafe should they end up suspended. Other necessary equipment includes blowers to ventilate air through confined spaces and keep the air from becoming a hazard.