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Property Wide Fall Protection Program - A Case Study

By: Rauch Safety & Engineering

Email Rauch Safety & Engineering
Telephone: 702-818-1765

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Geographic Location: Southeast Asia
Industry Sector: Hospitality-Gaming
Client Type: Private

Background Information

Ranch Safety was appointed by the client to facilitate the development of a comprehensive, property wide fall protection strategy and to work with clients U.S. and international design and operations internal resources teams, together with external multicultural project critical members which included architects, engineers, government authorities and contractors.

Falls remain a killer of workers in the construction industry and workers in private industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the U.S alon, Falls were the leading cause of fatal construction accidents in 2013, with 294 of the 796 total deaths and 349 out of 874 total deaths in construction in CY 2014.

Falls are a persistent hazard found in all occupational settings. Despite special emphasis programs from OSHA and increasingly sophisticated fall protection equipment, falls from heights remain a serious occupational safety challenge.

Issues and Challenges

Fall injuries constitute a considerable financial burden: workers’ compensation and medical costs associated with occupational fall incidents have been estimated at approximately $70 billion annually in the United States. Many countries are facing the same challenges as the LInited States on fall injury in the workplace. The international public health community has a strong interest in developing strategies to reduce the toll of fall injuries.

In addition to their social costs, fall injuries have a major impact on an employer's bottom line. The costs of fall injuries include direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include workers' compensation payments, medical expenses, and costs for legal services. Examples of indirect costs include training replacement employees, accident investigation and implementation of corrective measures, lost productivity, repairs of damaged equipment and property, and costs associated with lower employee morale and absenteeism.

Irrespective of country, all operations associated with working at heights are potentially dangerous due to the inherent risks, and world-wide many people are killed or seriously injured each year. A lack of control, lack of training, unsuitable equipment or a combination of these invariably causes these incidents.

As with any safety related issue, it is difficult to quantify a realistic return on investment for Fall Protection expenditures. Competing viewpoints of internal stakeholders such as operations, security, legal and finance, and each of their own budgetary requirements make the task of justifying costs for safety, (which in many cases are seen as intangible measures) particularly challenging.

Solutions and Recommendations

  • Review of property wide drawings to determine any possible deficiencies in overall fall protection design and equipment placement.

  • Physical/onsite inspections of property to identify fall hazards.

  • Meet with Labour Affairs Bureau, to ensure that International Fall Protection (U.S. Federal OSHA, ANSI, CSA, CE) are acceptable to the Labour Affairs Bureau and meet or exceed local standards and requirements.

  • Develop fall protection equipment placement and mitigation recommendations.

  • Develop recommendations for fall protection procedures and training.

  • Develop budget for property wide fall protection mitigation, design, engineering, installation, training and procedures.

  • Identify qualified vendors for equipment and training programs.

  • Develop RFP’s (request for proposals) and provide to qualified vendors.

  • Review RFP’s and provide recommendations to client.

  • Management and oversight of all fall protection related vendors and associated internal and external resources such as design, engineering and operations.

  • Ensure that all training, training materials, procedures, signage and etc., are in the appropriate language and dialect.

  • Physical/onsite inspection of property 60 (sixty) days prior to scheduled opening to identify any outstanding or newly created fall hazards.

  • Observe fall protection training by client to its employees 30 days prior to opening.

Risk Factors and Assessment

The ability to implement a comprehensive realistic scalable long term program which has the buy in of all stakeholders including the local authorities, will be the key to the success or failure of the overall fall protection program.

Training programs to disseminate knowledge and to improve behavior patterns and attitudes regarding safety in general and fall protection specifically are therefore critical. The inability to clearly articulate and demonstrate the importance of safety to the local workforce will leave the client at significant risk regardless of the amount of funds put towards equipment, plans and procedures.

Project Successes

Rauch Safety was successful in delivering a comprehensive Fall Protection program. The client was fully committed to building off of their exemplary U.S. property fall protection safety programs to deliver the highest caliber of training and safe work environment for this international location. Rauch Safety will continue to work with the client to monitor the programs progress.

Trusted by clients since 2001, Rauch Safety & Engineering specializes in guiding private and public clients through complex Fall Protection and Confined Spaces Infrastructure Access and Maintenance projects across specific industry sectors and markets utilizing our global network of resources to provide comprehensive world class advisory and management services.

View Rauch's Expert Witness and Consulting profiles.

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