April Safety Newsletter / by Neil Savage

We publish a bi-monthly safety newsletter. (That's once every two months, not twice a month, for the record.) We realize that we're five weeks late putting this up for everyone to see, but please don't tell our boss; he's a bear in the mornings before he has his coffee. If you'd like to get the newsletters in a timely fashion, you should sign up here. And don't try to answer the trivia question properly, because it's done already been answered.

Top of the Morning, Extended Towersource Family!

Welcome to issue #3 of the award winning* Towersource Safety Newsletter. Our goal is to communicate safety and proper protocol to our clients, vendors, and team members. And since we ain’t no April Fools, we’re dedicating this edition to a very serious topic in the telecom industry: fall safety. While you’re learning, don’t forget the contest hidden somewhere in this issue!

How Much Do You Know About: Fall Safety?

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No, we’re not talking about safety in autumn. We’re talking about the best practices to avoid injuries—or worse—caused by heights. In the U.S. construction industry, falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities. On average each year, between 150 and 200 workers are killed and more than 100,000 are injured as a result of falls.
 
The OHSA standard for fall protection states: “Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal or vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems.” If we drill down further into the OHSA rules, we learn there are two broad types of fall protection: fall restraints and fall arrests. Fall restraints include items like guardrails and parapet walls, while fall arrests stop workers should they actually fall.
 
A personal fall arrest system must be capable of withstanding the tremendous impact forces involved in a fall. Thanks to Newton and his laws of gravity, a person without protection will free fall 4 feet in half of a second and 16 feet in just one second! Hitting a solid surface at that speed can cause dire injury or death. A personal fall arrest system will minimize the distance a person can fall and includes a full body harness, a shock absorbing lanyard or a rope grab—all attached to a sound anchorage point. The anchor placement is key, and should be able to support a load of 5,000 pounds.  Or about three rhinoceroses. Or about 1/3rd of an African elephant.
 
Speaking of Isaac Newton, what famous British academy of sciences did Newton head from 1703-1727? The first person to email wins a gift card and a Towersource polo! Woohoo!

Some DOs and DO NOTs for Using Personal Fall Arrest Safety Equipment:

•Do tie off above your head. A six-foot tall person who ties off at the feet could free-fall as much as 12 feet.
•Do place your anchorage directly above/behind your work area to avoid potential swing fall hazards.
•Do use the shortest lanyard possible. The shorter the tie-off, the shorter the fall.
•Do have anchorage points selected by a competent person.
•Do not tie a knot in the lanyard. This will reduce its strength.
•Do not allow more than one worker to tie-off to the same anchorage unless it is designed and approved by an engineer.
•Do not allow someone else to rig your equipment unless you verify that it has been done correctly.