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Toolbox: The Sudden Stop


Each year, falls result in many serious injuries, and approximately 20% of all falls are fatal. This means that for every five persons involved in a falling accident, one dies.  Let’s spend the next few minutes talking about where falls occur and what we can do to prevent them.

HOUSEKEEPING –  Good footing is the best way to avoid falls and good housekeeping is the best way to ensure good footing. Scrap lumber; trash; wire; and slippery areas caused by water, grease, or oil can cause falls.

LADDERS –  Taking ladders for granted has caused many falls. Many workers believe that they can use any ladder for any job. To be safe, however, select a ladder that suits the purpose. Be sure it’s in good condition and that you place it securely. Keep both hands free for climbing and always face the ladder when going up or down.  Don’t carry tools with you.

SCAFFOLDS –  A scaffold should be solidly constructed like a permanent structure, even if it will be used for only a short time. Make sure you install allI the cross braces both vertically and horizontally, be sure the scaffold is built on a level surface and fully decked, and don’t forget to provide proper access.

FLOOR AND WALL OPENINGS –  Depending on their size, cover floor openings or protect them with standard guard-rails and toeboards. Also, protect wall openings, except for doorways and stair-ways through which persons could fall. This protection should be substantial and secured to prevent displacement.

STAIRWAYS  – Falls on stairways are caused by running, carrying objects that block your view failure to use handrails, or just not paying attention. Watch your step and concentrate on what you are doing.


Remember, it’s not the fall that hurts. It’s the sudden stop.

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