Fall Protection for Workers
Written by Greg on January 29, 2015
Fall Protection Safety Rules
While there may be numerous hazards for workers in any given labor environment, one area that overlooked is the potential for falls and falling objects to create harm. According to a recent OSHA (Occupational Safety Health Administration) study, “falls and falling objects can result from unstable working surfaces, ladders, not safely positioned, and misuse of fall protection.”
Additionally, workers can also be subjected to falls or falling objects when floor holes, sides and edges, and wall openings are not adequately protected.
Also, OSHA stated that any worker, who works at the height of six feet or more in the construction industry, or four feet or more in any general sector, must be protected. Thus, for employees and employers alike, it is essential to understand how to offer adequately offer fall protection to employees.
When employees work on a walking or working surface that has an unprotected side OSHA standards dictates that management must:
- Roll out a fall protection program both through development, implementation, and commitment.
- Provide specific training on the fall protection program.
- Evaluation of the program’s overall effectiveness to gauge specific changes needed.
Besides, employers must continually assess the workplace to ensure that the structures have enough structural integrity to support workers. This measure includes the proper construction and installation of all support structures, the supervision of employees, implementation of fall protection systems, and the assurance that workers are all adequately trained.
When there is an unprotected side, wall, or floor opening it is encouraged that employers use one of the following to offer additional protection:
- Safety Nets
- Fall Arrest Systems
- Covers or guards for floor holes
- All floor holes should also be able to support two times the weight of equipment, employees, and any other materials.
As one can imagine, supervision must also be maintained, both to ensure that these regulations followed and to locate any discrepancies that may arise. Also, the research points out that, when dealing with ladders in the working environment, OSHA also suggests that:
- Portable ladders should be extended to the side rails at least 3 feet above the landing.
- Side rails should be secured at the top to a rigid support and use a grab device when 3-foot extensions are not possible.
- The weight of the latter should be secured and inspected for any potential cracks, breaks, or other defects.
- The ladder should not hold more weight than has been allotted by manufacturer specifications.
- Only ladders that comply with OSHA specifications are to be used. These ladders have been made explicitly for durability and the assurance that accidents will be minimized upon use.
Following all of these steps ensures that employers comply with OSHA standards and helps to prevent severe accidents from occurring from inside the work environment.
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