OSHA regulations have a lot to say about fall protection, one of FIXFAST USA’s prime product areas.
Regulations cover the equipment used to protect workers from falling from any walkway, ramp or edge of an excavation that is more than 6 feet in the air, or falling into any hole, shaft or opening that is more than 6 feet wide and possessing a more than 6-foot drop.
Guardrails or fences 6 feet or higher, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems must be supplied, whether that elevated area is a ramp, stairway, or excavation.
This is especially true if the leading edge of an excavation cannot be readily seen, as it is covered by underbrush or another non-specific barrier. Personal fall or safety net systems can be supplied instead of guardrails.
Employees who might be walking on roofs or near layers of sewers must have holes, skylights, or any part of the construction not strong enough to hold a person’s weight properly covered. Covers or reinforcements must be supplied for large openings, like skylights, manholes, etc., where a person could fall through to a distance below.
Sometimes walkways are suspended at or near dangerous equipment, in cases such as these; proper guardrails or safety systems are critical. The same is true for bricklayers who are doing overhand bricklaying at more than a six-foot elevation.
In this case, they must wear safety equipment or have a guardrail for themselves, and also have the area below blocked off to guard against falling debris.
In the case where debris could be falling from a floor above to a lower level, it is important to cordon off the area and provide a canopy to catch the debris. Additionally, toeboards would be required for the guardrail to help prevent tools and debris falling to the lower surface.
For more information on this regulation, visit OSHA’s web page on Regulation #1926-501.