Falls are the number-one cause of death in construction. One of the most critical components of our work in supporting the industry is our ability to prevent falls. Use of correct equipment, precautions, and standard operating procedures are paramount in preventing falls. With this post, we hope to guide you through a proper procedure to prevent falls and other injuries on your next jobsite.

Getting to know your crew is key to ensuring that you stay safe on site. Spend a few extra minutes getting to know everyone you’re working with, which will lead to better communication and, ultimately, a better understanding of how a job will get done. Ask questions of your crew members so that you know what their strengths and weaknesses so you know ahead of time if there are pieces missing in your crew.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a construction worker’s best friend—the office has created an entire campaign centered on key precautions to remove the risk of falls on the job. OSHA recommends a three-fold operation to ensure that workers are creating the safest work environment for themselves:

  1. All workers should plan ahead to get the job done safely by anticipating needs, costs, and the general overview of each job. Workers should be inclined to investigate the specifics of each job prior to beginning in order to ensure that it is swift and safe from start to finish.
  2. Workers should provide the correct equipment for each job. Different ladders, scaffolding, and materials should be advised on a per-job basis. When the job site is equipped with everything one needs prior to beginning the job, it is much more likely that the job can be completed safely.
  3. Crews should be trained to use equipment correctly. Take the time to show each crew member how to use every tool and material separately and specifically – spending an extra few minutes in training can be the only thing ensuring the job gets done. Without proper training, workers are much more likely to prolong the job by getting hurt.

After your crew has a few jobs under it’s belt, it’s easier to plan ahead knowing what each worker brings to the table. Proper planning is then available in a much more efficient way – in every job, understanding your co-workers is key to getting things done quickly.

Making determinations about the needs that each job has becomes easier once you know your crew – work together to check a site at the beginning of each job, using everyone’s individual input to ensure each piece of equipment is covered. Using a few extra sets of eyes and ears helps the crew leader cover all his or her bases.

Communicating with the crew is key to training, as well—it’s likely that one person you’re working with has more experience than other members of your crew in a certain material, aspect, or piece of equipment. Ask for input and suggestions before training the crew as a whole. That will ultimately safe time and prevent injury across the board.

While it is apparent that each crew has its own workflow, remembering the three-fold procedure from OSHA and gaining a full understanding of your crew will ultimately lead to a slow and steady workforce who gets the job done safely every time.