OPTIONAL

Posted: October 24, 2012 in Accidents, Fall Protection
Tags: , , ,

I am in the UK this week working with one of our facilities on an upcoming factory relocation.   Over the past few days, I visited their current manufacturing sites as well as their new consolidated building.   The new factory is a 205,000 square foot facility that is absolutely awesome.   It has the highest ceiling height that I have ever seen in a manufacturing building.   The sub-contractors were running gas lines, electric lines, air lines and hanging lights while I was there.   I am not familiar with the safety rules and regulations of the UK so I asked a few questions while we toured this impressive building.    There were 5 or 6 scissor lifts and cherry pickers being used by the sub-contractors performing the work.   This equipment was specialized to accommodate the extremely high ceiling.   What I found interesting was that fall protection when using a scissor lift was OPTIONAL.   Fall protection was required on a cherry picker but OPTIONAL on a scissor lift!   Is the fall any different?   Does it hurt any less when falling from a scissor lift?  Why would it be any safer on a scissor lift than a cherry picker?

I asked why is there a difference in fall protection requirements between a scissor lift and a cherry picker?   Why would one be OPTIONAL and the other mandatory?   The on-site safety professional explained to me that it’s easier to be thrown from a cherry picker than it is from a scissor lift.   The UK safety laws allow each individual using a scissor lift to make their own risk assessment and determine if they need a safety harness on an individual by individual basis.

When it comes to extreme heights, I am not in favor of leaving a risk assessment up to an individual.   As an employer, we have an obligation to provide a safe work environment.   We need to protect every employee from being injured – even if they think nothing will happen.   Nobody goes up into a cherry picker or scissor lift with the intention of falling to the ground.   It’s always a freak accident that occurs when a safety harness does it’s job.   I completely support fall protection and do not believe that it should be OPTIONAL – What do you think?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

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