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Do you have a fall protection plan in place in your workplace?

by , 03 July 2013
Did you know that falls from working at height are the single biggest cause of deaths and one of the main causes of injury in the workplace? While this is the case, you can minimise many of these injuries and even fatalities with a fall protection plan.

If your employees work at heights, you must have a fall protection plan in place. It's a legal requirement by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

What is a fall protection plan?

A fall protection plan is a document that's drafted to help prevent falls and protect employees who work at heights. The plan includes a description of the work to be done (at heights), the hazards associated with the work and how to manage the risks these hazards pose, explains the Health and Safety Advisor.

Who needs to have a fall protection plan?

If your employees work in any situation where there's a risk of falling, you must have a fall protection plan.

Your fall protection plan must include all activities that involve the possibility of your employees falling and injuring themselves.

Here's a list of 12 of the most common work activities where an employee can fall

12 Common work activities that involve falling:

  1. Work on roofs (replacing loose roof tiles).
  2. Ladders (using ladders to clean windows).
  3. Ramps (working on ramps to do construction work).
  4. Boatswain chairs (a device used in construction to suspend a person on a seat from a rope to perform work at heights).
  5. Scaffolding (work on any form of scaffolding).
  6. Working over water, like bridges or building bridges.
  7. Working on gantries (a platform made to carry a travelling crane and supported by towers or side frames running on parallel tracks used for loading ships).
  8. Working on elevated walkways.
  9. Working on or in tanks (large tanks where ladders are used for access).
  10. Working in manholes (locations that have deep drop capacity).
  11. Working over trenches.
  12. Working in excavations (excavations where falling or collapsing is possible).

You'll face penalties and fines if you don't have a fall protection plan in your workplace

If you don't comply with the Act and your employees are injured as a result, you'll be guilty of an offence. If you're convicted, you'll be fined R50 000 or face imprisonment for one year, or both.

So ensure you have a fall protection plan if your employees work at elevated heights.

Keep in mind that your plan must be drawn up by a competent person (a fall protection specialist). In addition, you must have controls in place to ensure you and your employees comply with the content of the fall protection plan.

Turn to chapter to  F05 of your Health and Safety Advisor and get 10 easy steps to creating your fall protection plan

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