Did you know that slips, trips and falls account for 23% of worker injuries and 36% of fatalities in the Oil and Gas industry?1 It is also the leading cause of injury in the construction industry and accounts for 1 out of every 5 deaths in the construction industry. Falls are regarded as a major cause of lost time at work. It is noted that an average employee misses 11 days of work after a workplace fall and slips, trips and falls cost employers’ more than $17 billion a year.2

Key actions to reduce and prevent falls at the worksite

So what can be done to reduce the number of fall-related incidents at the work site? Several actions can be taken. Key amongst them include the following: 3

  • Employers must set up the workplace to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations. In addition, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.
  • Any holes on the floors or elevated open sided platforms, need to be protected with a railing or toe guard.
  • Regardless of height, if a worker can fall onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt) guardrails and toe-boards need to be in place to prevent injuries.
  • Safety tools, PPE and equipment like safety harnesses and line, safety nets, stair railings and handrails should be provided as needed at no additional cost to the worker.
  • Floors in work areas should be clean and dry as far as possible.
  • Workers should be trained on job hazards in a language they understand.

How can United Safety help?

In addition to the above mandated steps, technology can play an integral role in ensuring worker safety.

Computer Vision enhances PPE compliance: Computer Vision, for example, can be used to ensure proper PPE compliance. After all, what is the use of equipping personnel with PPE if it is not worn properly? Computer Vision is an AI-based technology that monitors onsite workers in real time and can be used to detect improper usage of PPE in real time. This ensures that fall prevention gear like safety harnesses and lines are used properly. Computer Vision can also be used to alert managers to horseplay and other unsafe behaviors that could lead to slips, trips and falls.

Real time fall detection: Despite all preventative measures, falls can still happen. At these times, a quick response is essential and can even make the difference between life and death. With the use of real time technology, personnel in the Safety Control Center are immediately alerted if a fall is detected. Workers wear a smart helmet called Communicator that automatically sends an alert to the Command Center in the event of a fall. The technicians in the command center can then immediately locate workers closest to the fallen worker to assist the fallen worker while coordinating immediate rescue operations to swiftly reach the accident site.

If you’d like more information on how we can reduce the number of falls at your worksite, please feel free to get in touch with us.


1 https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2021/02/01/Preventing-Slip-and-Fall-Injuries-in-the-Oil-Gas-Industry.aspx
2 https://callsam.com/blog/slip-trip-and-fall-accidents-list-of-surprising-statistics/
3 https://www.osha.gov/fall-protection