It’s not exactly a trade secret that working in the construction business comes with its fair share of potential dangers. In fact, this industry is home to one of the deadliest types of accidents that could happen on a jobsite—falls. Working on a construction project often means scaling several stories high to erect large structures. For this reason, the risk of falling from those heights is significantly higher than what others see in different lines of work. Construction professionals are required to wear fall protection equipment to help reduce the threat of these occurrences and even stop them from occurring entirely. Still, staying on guard is crucial to staying safe, and knowing what fall protection mistakes to avoid can set you up for success.

Forgetting to Inspect Climbing Apparatuses

If you’re going to be using any type of fall protection equipment during the day, it’s vital that you first inspect everything that you’ll be relying on. While these devices and supporting lanyards are made to accommodate an ample number of jobs, even they eventually begin to weaken after sustaining damage. This lowers the weight capacity that they can handle and, therefore, makes them less safe to use during a climb. So inspecting each piece of equipment beforehand can prevent a dangerous accident down the line.

Failing to Replace Faulty Equipment

It’s also a potentially dangerous mistake to hold on to equipment that you know to be faulty. Having strong fall protection equipment is so important to maintaining worker safety that damaged or low-quality items are often recommended to be replaced rather than fixed. This helps ensure that the tools being used for the job are the safest they can possibly be and that the overall risk on the jobsite is lowered. Because of this, you should know when to replace your fall protection equipment and what signs to look for during inspections.

Wearing Your Harness Improperly

Another fall protection mistake to avoid is wearing your safety harness incorrectly. The fall protection harness is the section of the lifeline system that connects supporting devices directly to your body. It’s designed to snugly cradle your torso and limbs without limiting your freedom of movement. Should you fall, your harness, in tandem with your fall arrest lanyard, will reduce the force of the momentum on your body and help prevent serious injury. For these reasons, your harness needs to be positioned correctly along your waist, legs, and shoulders. So before putting one on, make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow their guidelines.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.