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Spotlight on Safety: Preventing Falls in Residential Construction

Medlin RampsIf you read our blog on a regular basis, you know that we here at Medlin Ramps consider safety to be the highest priority, which is why we only use the highest quality materials in our equipment.

We are also committed to bringing you tips, tricks and strategies to help make your work site free of injuries, or worse – fatalities.  Today, we want to talk about preventing falls on residential construction sites.

Falls are the number one reason that workers die on residential construction worksites.  This is too often due to inadequate safety measures, faulty scaffolding or equipment that lacks proper guardrails or personal fall arrest systems.  However, there are often also issues with aerial lifts like man baskets and work platforms.  Those are two of our signature products here at Medlin, and while we engineer them to the highest possible standards of quality and safety, in many cases exceeding OSHA's requirements and recommendations, there are still steps that contractors and workers can take to increase their overall safety on the construction site.

Man baskets and work platforms are great tools for jobs like exterior finishing, or anything else that requires a surface that is not just stable and level, but mobile and able to be positioned in a variety of ways.  However, there are a number of safety issues that can arise from their use, including falls, as well as equipment or tools falling from these platforms on to someone below, structural collapse (if the lift is too old, made from shoddy materials, or is improperly maintained) and entanglement hazards.

The most important, of course, is falls, which is the focus of our article today.  Here are some concrete steps you can take to help prevent falls on residential construction sites:

  1. Make sure all of your equipment is manufactured not just to OSHA's minimum standards, but to those set forth in the ANSI A92 series (A92.2 for Vehicle-Mounted Rotating and Elevating Work Platforms, A92.5 Boom-Supported Elevating Work Platforms and A92.6 Self-Propelled Elevating Work Platforms.)
  2. Never anchor an aerial lift to poles, structures or equipment.
  3. Never move a forklift or truck while an aerial lift is elevated with a worker in the basket or on the platform.
  4. Make sure your workers are aware of the great dangers of falling – and encourage them to help police each other's behavior.  Workers should always plant their feet firmly on the floor of the aerial lift and never sit or lean on railings.  Additionally, a worker should never use a ladder or a plank in addition to an aerial lift just to get a little extra height or reach – it's unstable and greatly increases their risk of falling.
  5. Prevent catapulting actions by ensuring that workers always wear the proper harnesses or lanyards – no matter whether they are annoying or time-consuming.  Even with personal fall arrest protection preventing them from going all the way to the ground, getting thrown out of the basket can cause a major injury.

These are just some of the ways that work site managers and bosses can help create a healthy, safe environment for all their workers at a residential construction site.  Remember – safety should be the top priority – and the responsibility – of everyone involved with making the job happen.  In our view, that means manufacturers, too, which is why we bring you this information in the first place.

If you have any questions about the safety standards of our aerial lifts, like man baskets and work platforms, contact us today.