Did you know that over 40,000 working-at-height injuries occur annually across Canada? Despite working-from-heights legislation and mandatory training being in place for over a decade, these statistics have not significantly declined. Fall injuries and, sadly, deaths are still all too common an occurrence in the Canadian workplace.
According to the Ministry of Labour Statistics from 2018, the four leading contributing factors of workplace fall-related injuries were:
- lack of worksite instruction
- not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)
- lack of training
- wearing PPE improperly
The upside to these negative stats is that a large portion of these injuries and fatalities can be addressed and avoided by selecting the right fall protection equipment and empowering users with the proper and current education.
Here’s what you need to know to avoid the 3 most common mistakes that users make when selecting fall protection solutions.
1. Overlooking the Importance of Comfort of Fall Protection Equipment
When it comes to any PPE, comfort should be king, and fall protection PPE is no exception. Topping the list of reasons why employees don’t wear their PPE or don’t wear it properly is because they don’t feel comfortable.
The ability to move freely and comfortably in a body harness is an important consideration when selecting your fall protection solutions.
Instead of choosing just the typical bare-bones harness, some features to explore include the following design options:
Soft and malleable nylon webbing
All too often, entry-level price point harnesses utilize stiff and rigid nylon webbing because these are cheaper to produce. Stiff webbing causes your harness to be significantly less comfortable and restricts mobility. This is often cited as to why employees wear their PPE improperly, or, in the worst case, not at all. With comfort as the #1 priority, all Dentec fall protection harnesses are designed with high-quality, flexible materials to ensure the user is comfortable, secure, and can work with ease.
The introduction of shoulder pads has traditionally been to offset stiff and rigid webbing, as mentioned above, in hopes of providing a more wearable harness.
Back pads are similarly designed to distribute weight of tools and equipment or provide additional support and stability if you are using a positioning lanyard. For example, roofers often carry many coils of roofing nails, hammers, and a pneumatic roofing nailer, and back pads provide an added layer of ergonomic protection.
Unfortunately, a drawback of shoulder pads and back pads is that they tend to hold in sweat and heat. The Contractor Harness uses a combination of foam material and a breathable mesh fabric. The foam padding provides support but moves with the body as you bend and turn. The mesh fabric is breathable, allowing perspiration to dry quickly. This combination provides additional comfort and performance for extended use.
Choose a fall protection product that has been designed thoughtfully.
Alternatively, consider fall arrest designs like the NEW Koala Behr body harness that has integrated tubular webbing. This super soft nylon webbing provides exceptional comfort and fit, eliminating heat build-up due to the removal or need for shoulder pads. This unique design in the marketplace is incredibly lightweight, sleek, and stylish. This is key for employees working at heights, who may associate typical fall protection equipment as heavy, uncomfortable, restrictive, and hot.
2. Focusing TOO Much on Price
Like any safety program, budget plays a key role, but don’t let price be your only deciding factor. Focusing too much on price while ignoring other determinants can seriously impact whether users wear their equipment properly or at all. By choosing cost over quality, you are ultimately putting not only your employees in danger, but your business at risk of non-compliance issues. In the long run, this could cost your business hundreds of thousands more. Nowhere in the safety industry is it more pronounced that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure than in fall protection solutions. Even modest increases in budget can make huge impacts in compliance and wearability. It’s also important to recognize that the most expensive products on the market are not necessarily the best.
That’s why reviewing features that enhance comfort, security, and mobility are critical when choosing fall arrest equipment. No matter the price, it is crucial to ensure you are selecting a product that is CSA-approved. There are many fall protection products available that may “look” comparable to other products on the market, cost less, but are NOT CSA-approved. If in doubt. always check for the CSA logo and/ or consult the CSA group.
If you have any questions about the latest CSA fall protection standards, contact us to chat with one of our safety specialists to get you up to speed.
For budget conscious businesses, the CSA-approved Eco Harness can’t be beat in value and quality; check it out.
3. Choosing what’s familiar VS what is best for the user/ or application.
Old habits die hard, and when it comes to workplace safety, it’s far too common for organizations to just purchase what they know. Over the past few years, there have been several regulatory updates when it comes to fall protection specifically, driving many design improvements and changes. Organizations need to be sure their current PPE supplier is offering products that adhere to the new CSA fall protection standards and provide the highest level of safety and performance. Your fall protection supplier should also be well-versed and up to date in these regulations and be a source for information and training, if needed. Here are some of the most recent regulatory updates specifically for fall protection:
Z259 .2.2-17 Self-Retracting Devices
Z259 .2.3:16 Descent Devices
Z259 .2.4-15 Fall Arresters and Vertical Rigid Rails (R2020)
Z259 .2.5-17 Fall Arresters and Vertical Lifelines
Z259 .10-18 Full-Body Harness
Z259 .11-17 Personal Energy Absorbers and Lanyards
Z259 .12-16 Connecting Components for Personal Fall-Arrest Systems (PFAS)
Z259 .13-16 Manufactured Horizontal Lifeline Systems
Z259 .15-17 Anchorage Connectors Z259 .16:21 Design of Active Fall Protection Systems
Z259 .17:21 Selection and Use of Active Fall Protection Equipment and Systems
Too often, organizations assume that big brands offer the best product offerings and the latest technology, but by doing a little research, you can often find superiors solutions with enhanced comfort and value. So, dig a little deeper and explore a more robust line of fall protection equipment.
Download our new Fall Protection Catalogue
Dentec Safety is a leading manufacturer and distributor of safety products in the North America since 2004. Dentec Safety is dedicated to providing the highest quality safety products and solutions delivering enhanced value and comfort. Our expertise from decades of experience in Industrial Safety and our innovative design technologies have solidified us as thought leaders in the field. Protection and comfort are at the core of everything we do at Dentec. As a leading manufacturer of Safety Solutions, it is our mission to help organizations do the right thing, keep their employees safe and exceed Industry Health & Safety Standard.