April 26, 2023

Falls from unguarded edges and workplace complacency

Workers at construction site

As a service to our policyholders, Texas Mutual shares serious workplace injury trends based on catastrophic injuries and fatalities reported to our claims department. Not all of these reported injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, but our goal is to help you ensure these types of incidents do not happen in your workplace. Find safety tips below to help keep your employees safe on the job.

If you have questions, we encourage you to contact our safety services support center at 844-WORKSAFE (967-5723) or safety@texasmutual.com.

In this alert:

  • Falls from unguarded edges
  • Workplace complacency

Falls from unguarded edges

An employee was working in a customer’s shop, unaware of an opening in the floor. While carrying equipment, the employee stepped into the opening and fell about eight feet to the level below. In another incident, an employee was standing on a rafter in a building being constructed. The employee slipped and fell about 10 feet to the ground.

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry and can be prevented by using the proper safety equipment and following safe procedures.

  • Conduct an inspection of the area before starting work to identify any potential fall hazards.
  • Plan out work procedures and necessary fall protection measures with your supervisor before starting work.
  • Inspect fall protection equipment before each use and notify a supervisor immediately if it’s damaged.
  • When working in construction, use fall protection any time you could fall six feet or more to a lower level.
  • If you’re using a personal fall arrest system (PFAS), keep the lanyard or lifeline connected to the anchorage point the entire time you’re working at heights.

Injuries due to workplace complacency

Since the beginning of this year, employees who’ve been on the job between two to six years have suffered more injuries than any other tenured group. One of the likely reasons for this trend is workplace complacency, which is normally caused by an excessive sense of confidence or false sense of security.

It’s common for employees to let their guard down after graduating from a new employee to an experienced one. This can easily lead to rushing or skipping full safety procedures, especially when they’ve completed the same task several times with no incidents. To avoid suffering from workplace complacency, focus on why safety matters each day.

  • Take responsibility for your actions and remember that you set an example for newer employees.
  • Ask for feedback on your tasks or routine to help you stay engaged and keep improving.
  • Learn to spot the signs of complacency in yourself and your colleagues, which can include frequent near-misses, lack of motivation, missing steps or taking shortcuts and changes in attitude.
  • Expand your skillset by participating in leadership activities such as mentoring or training new employees.
  • Get more involved in your company’s safety committee or hazard inspection program to help you maintain a safety-first mindset.

Get free safety resources

Texas Mutual policyholders have access to thousands of free training materials in our multimedia safety resource center, including our safety catalog with up-to-date resources.

To access the free materials, log in to your texasmutual.com account and select Safety. If you need help accessing the safety resource center or you have a workplace safety question, call us toll-free at 844-WORKSAFE (967-5723).

Download a PDF (497KB) version of the April Safety Alert.

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