The construction industry faces several daily safety risks, such as working at great heights, operating heavy machinery, or even cleaning certain pieces of machinery. In 2017, the top three standards most frequently cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for any industry consisted of fall protection, hazard communication, and scaffolding.
Fall protection was not only the most commonly cited standard by OSHA in 2017, but MEM policyholders in the construction industry experienced the most lost-time claims from fall incidents in that same year.
Falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries, but the risk associated with these injuries can be mitigated or nearly eliminated with loss prevention techniques. In an attempt to offset the risk of frequent slip, trip or fall accidents in his shop, Nick Andres, Plant Controller at Mid America Precast, applied for and received an MEM SafetySMARTS Safety Grant in 2017 to purchase a casting table vibrating system. This system helps his employees avoid fall injuries by using vibration to remove any bubbles from their architectural precast materials—a process that was previously manual and led to greater risk of injury. Since the installation of this equipment, Mid America Precast has not filed a related claim or near miss incident.
When it comes to construction sites and workplaces, there are numerous places an employee may experience a slip, trip or fall. At Mid America Precast, an additional fall risk existed with their on-site 50 foot tall crane. Utilizing the expertise of two MEM Safety and Risk Consultants, Dale Muenks and Brad Minor, Nick was able to work through the logistics of retrofitting their workspace to comply with an OSHA compliance rule, which requires fall protection at elevations of six feet or greater for the construction industry.
“Nick and the management team have been great to work with and have been very proactive about reducing safety hazards in their workplace,” says Dale. “Brad and I met with Nick to look at some areas employees were exposed to fall hazards and the type of work they were doing. Nick took the lead from there and put together a fall protection system that provides protection for the employees.”
Nick contacted a local safety technician to advise Mid America Precast on the best way to protect their employees with this rule in mind. They installed a lifeline to prevent future falls, making every employee safer and the company compliant with OSHA’s fall protection requirement.
“It was a difficult thing for us to find a way to alleviate the fall risk here because the crane and rigging lines got in the way,” Nick said. “It was a bear to figure out how to address the problem of that risk, but we did it.”
In addition to upgrading certain safety protocols and equipment in the workplace, annual staff training helps support efforts to create a safety-minded culture within your business. Nick provides training to all his employees and additional training to those who use specialized equipment to ensure everyone can go home at the end of the day injury-free. Click here to access training materials specific to the construction industry, or use the search feature to find materials related to your industry.