When people start believing the myths, things become out of hand. That is why it is very important to spread the truth. Myths are dangerous and could be fatal, as it happens at various workplaces and job sites.
In this article, we will counter some persistent myths regarding safety and fall protection at various workplaces. People who work at height know the importance of fall protection equipment. Working safely at height is important and for that reason, it is important to get the right equipment and correct knowledge about the same.
Let’s look at some common fall protection myths that are entirely false.
Myth 1: No need for safety equipment
When you are working at heights, you don’t require to wear fall protection; this statement is completely false.
Fall protection equipment is very important and the employer must provide every worker with proper fall protection equipment. No matter how small or big the work is, workers must wear fall protection while working on heights. Fall protection saves you from injuries or worst – death.
Myth 2: If a worker is only a few feet from the ground, he doesn’t require a fall protection
Most of the fall accidents happen at relatively low heights because people often underestimate the risks. Even if you are only 2 meters above the ground, falls can leave you with some serious injuries.
There are many jobs, where wearing fall protection is mandatory even at the lower heights. So, no matter at what height you are working, you must wear proper fall protection.
Myth 3: Fall Protection is a Waste of Money
We often hear people saying that fall protection is expensive and is a complete waste of money, but the truth is that these are cost-effective equipment. With the proper use of fall protection, one can prevent accidents at the workplace.
The medical expenses, the accident investigation, the compensation costs to the employee, and the possible shut down of a workplace cost far more than installing fall protection.
The costs of fall protection equipment are always less than the costs made for accidents that result in injury or death.
Myth 4: Wearing a harness and attaching it to an anchor point keeps you safe
This is a traitorous statement. Attaching a harness to an anchor point does not ensure your complete safety; there are a lot of other variables that play a vital role to keep you safe. To ensure you do not hit a lower level, a calculation needs to be done that includes the material of your fall protection system among other factors. A harness should have a certain amount of stretch to it, the same goes for some other parts of your safety system.
There is a formula that is used to calculate fall clearance:
Fall Clearance = free fall distance + arrest distance + harness stretch + safety factor
Just attaching to an anchor point does not mean safety, there needs to be enough fall clearance to ensure that you do not hit anything in case a fall occurs.
Myth 5: If I have inspected my PPE recently I don’t need to do it again
Fall protection PPE must be inspected before every use. No matter when the last inspection was done, always check your products before using them. You can also perform a visual inspection in which you look for damages and deformations in the materials. Apart from this, all PPE needs to be checked and maintained by a competent person after a regular interval of time.
Myth 6: “I can quickly react during a fall to minimize injury”
Unfortunately, this is a common misconception. It takes approx 6 meters before our brain reacts to the fact that we have fallen, and at that time, it is almost impossible to stop your fall.
You should never rely on your own physical reflexes to stop a fall. Therefore, workers should use fall protection equipment to prevent injury during the falls.
Myth 7: Health and Safety Regulations Does Not Benefit Me
Health and safety regulations benefit everyone as they offer safety measures at the workplace. Regulations make workplaces much safer and ensure that your job site is free of hazards. Without proper health and safety regulations, a lot of people would sustain serious injuries at work.
Myth 8: All Sort of Fall Protection Equipment is Suitable for All Sorts of Work
Fall protection does not fit for all sorts of work. Working on a roof requires different equipment than working on a beam in a factory hall. Every worksite needs to be evaluated to see what type of fall protection solution suits the situation best.
Personal fall protection equipment also needs to be adjusted according to the person using it. The user needs to be comfortable with the equipment. Both harness and lanyards have a weight range. Exceeding that range means that a system can fail in case a fall occurs. So, the equipment will need to be adjusted accordingly.
Working at height is dangerous as people face several forms of fall hazards. Myths told among people have a serious effect on safety. Employees should also be properly trained about the hazards to ensure complete safety. Now, as you are aware of the myths related to fall protection, you can follow the right steps to be safe at your workplace.
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