Winter can bring icy conditions, increasing the risk for falls on worksites – and this year, OSHA intensifies enforcement efforts to uphold fall prevention and safety standards nationwide.
LAS VEGAS (Dec. 19, 2023) – As the first official day of winter approaches, Thursday, Dec. 21, southern Nevada may anticipate the occasional icy weather conditions, which increase the risk for slips and falls. The Safety Consultation and Training Section (SCATS) of the State of Nevada’s Division of Industrial Relations offers free resources and tips to help Nevada’s workforce prevent slips and falls on the worksite.
Though falls may be in focus when winter arrives, they can happen in any season, both indoors and outdoors, and in any job industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, work-related fatalities due to falls, slips, and trips increased by 5.6% from 2020 to 2021. Additionally, fall protection topped OSHA’s worksite violations list for the 13th year in a row – OSHA responded by implementing a national emphasis program effective May 1, 2023 to strengthen enforcement for fall protection standards.
SCATS offers the following tips to keep Nevada’s workforce safe during the upcoming winter months and year-round:
- Inspect walking surfaces on the worksite.
Inspect worksites for potential walkway hazards: Look for ice on walking surfaces, damage to walkways, leaks and spills, clutter or debris, and other obstacles. Be sure to de-ice walkways, repair surfaces, clean up spills, fix leaks and clear away debris, clutter and tripping hazards. During the winter, employers can also provide ice melt material on worksites to keep walkways free of ice, reducing the risk of falls and slips.
- Inspect equipment before using it and train employees how to use it.
It’s essential to inspect equipment before every use, including ladders, safety harnesses and guardrails. Using damaged equipment increases the risk of falls. Additionally, all employees must be trained on the proper use of ladders before taking their first climb. Employees working at a height of 6 feet for construction sites and 4 feet for general industry worksites are required to use a form of fall protection such as guardrails, harnesses, safety nets, and others. Training is required for all forms of fall protection.
- Use the right tools to reach up high.
Another common mistake that increases the risk of falls is the improper use of ladders or other objects to reach high places on the worksite. Ladders should only be used on flat, level ground while maintaining three points of contact at all times. It’s also important to use a ladder tall enough to reach the necessary height to avoid overreaching or becoming imbalanced. Standing on a desk or chair is not considered safe.
“Fall-related fatalities and injuries are preventable,” Todd Schultz, Chief Administrative Officer for SCATS, said. “SCATS is here as a partner for Nevada’s businesses–both big and small–that put their employees first by creating safe worksites where every step is a secure one.”
Business owners, managers, supervisors and employees can contact SCATS year-round for no-cost, onsite safety consultations for their workplace at 4safenv.state.nv.us or by calling 877-472-3368. SCATS also offers free training courses for fall prevention and other worksite safety topics online and in-person – visit 4safenv.state.nv.us for a full course schedule.
Media note: Photos for fall prevention safety are available for download here.
About Nevada SCATS
The Safety Consultation and Training Section (SCATS), part of Nevada’s Division of Industrial Relations, provides free and confidential consultation and safety services to assist businesses in Nevada to be in compliance with OSHA standards. SCATS helps Nevada businesses keep their employees safe and offers on-site consultation services designed to help employers recognize and control potential safety and health hazards at their workplaces, improve their safety and health programs, and assist in training employees. SCATS also offers Workplace Safety and Health Training classes in Northern and Southern Nevada. Bilingual services are also available. Visit 4safenv.state.nv.us.
The Nevada On-Site Consultation program (SCATS), at the time of initial publication of this document (5/2023), is funded by a cooperative agreement for $1,011,673 federal funds, which constitutes 27.1% percent of the program budget. 0% percent, or $ 0.00 of the program budget, is financed through non-governmental sources.
Media contact: Jena Esposito, KPS3, email@example.com