Reducing Fall Hazard Risk: Perform Fall Hazard Risk Assessments—the Right Way

For this year’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, I’m sharing the top five ways to reduce fall hazard risk, based on my more than 25 years in fall protection consulting.

The first way is applying Prevention through Design.

The second? Perform fall hazard risk assessments—the right way.

The goal of a fall protection program is to create a safer environment for workers. But, to develop an effective strategy to reduce risk, you must identify all the hazards.

That’s why a comprehensive fall hazard risk assessment is key.

During a comprehensive fall hazard risk assessment, safety professionals gather detailed data on all fall hazards and analyze the data to determine the probability and severity each hazard presents.

In terms of probability, we consider a variety of factors:

  • Frequency of task
  • Hazard exposure time
  • Number of workers exposed
  • Likelihood of falls based on external influences

We measure severity by determining fall distance and likely obstructions impacted during a fall.

We organize the resulting data into a prioritized list of hazards. This list can be organized by location, maintenance task, and type of solution proposed—or in any other way that helps the organization manage abatements.

Once we’ve identified, evaluated, and ranked fall hazards and the potential risks associated with them, we can help organizations create a validated budget, schedule and abatement strategy.

Our team used this comprehensive fall hazard risk assessment method to identify more than 1,800 hazards at 45 Bon Secours Mercy Health (BSMH) facilities. In June, Steven Bodily, chief operating officer of supply chain at BSMH, told Modern Healthcare magazine that LJB’s risk assessment methodology transformed an overwhelming list of hazards into a manageable plan.

That’s the goal. Since organizations may not be able to address every hazard, the prioritized list provides guidance on what, when and how to abate hazards most efficiently and cost effectively. Program managers can even use this information to report metrics on the amount of risk reduced for a given investment.

Case in point: BSMH is completing annual budgeted line items from 2020 to 2023 that enable the company to mitigate 80% of the fall risk by addressing the top 10% of its fall hazards.

If you need help learning more about the fall risk in your work environment, comment below or contact us.

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