by Karl Wagenhoffer III
Safety should be the foremost priority for all facility managers. We work to live not the other way around. Ensuring oneself and employees safety guarantees everyone will return home at the end of the day to be with their family, friends, and pets. This takes more than safety awareness and requires a culture of safety throughout the workplace that is supported by senior leadership and labor force alike. Guaranteeing safety requires proactive measures to address potential pitfalls, documentation and improvement upon near misses and constant focus how a safer workplace can be created.
At the top of the list, year over year, slips, trips and falls lead the pack as the number one OSHA recordable incident. There is a wide array of incidents within this category, but all are preventable. Exterior Building Solutions, Lehigh Valley IFMA member, cited two commonly unnoticed areas within their profession. Chris Devers, Sales Representative, mentions “One of the most overlooked areas for fall protection are skylights. The major skylight manufacturers use laminated glass on glazed daylighting systems; however, older plastic domed units may not meet the required OSHA recommendation, impact tested to 775 ft-lbs to comply with the intent of OSHA fall protection regulation 29 CFR 1910.23 (e)(8). Newer units can come with high impact modified domes or fall protection grids can be added to older units. Always remember to never walk or lean on day lighting systems.” Consulting with a professional company like Exterior Building Solutions is one way to help mitigate risks.
EBS Representative, Chris, continues “As white roofs grow in popularity it is important to make sure you are properly prepared when walking a TPO or PVC white roof system. Without the proper footwear, thermoplastics can be extremely slippery. In addition, it is always recommended to wear proper sun blocking eyewear. The sun glare can cause poor visibility or snow blindness that can lead to accidents on the roof.”
When tackling any new project, no matter how large or mundane, consulting with a professional for their expertise is always recommended. Here is a list of a few industry insights for what you need to know to stay OSHA compliant regarding fall protection. A leading benefit at IFMA Lehigh Valley is the network of professionals and peers with years of experience at your disposal. Use this resource next time you are encountered with an unfamiliar challenge or fell there must be a safer way.
It takes more than compliance and awareness to remain safe and ensure the safety of those you work with. Safety requires constant consideration, proactive measures and a supporting culture. Start the conversation today, promote a safety culture and be vigilant in the endeavor for safety performance. Together we can ensure we get to go home at the end of the day.