Original article from www.accidentfund.com
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of death in construction. In fact, there were 264 construction fatalities from falls in 2010 alone. That’s why it’s important to have a fall-protection program in place and to educate employees who may be at risk.
Before you begin a fall-protection program at your business, it’s critical to identify the potential fall hazards in your workplace. OSHA requires that a fall-protection program be created to inform employees on:
- Fall hazards identified on the job site and any changes that may occur.
- The use of fall protection systems or alternatives for the job site.
- How to erect, disassemble and maintain equipment.
- The process for alerting management about damaged fall protection systems.
- Available training on assigned roles in the fall protection program.
Working Surfaces and Fall Hazards
Employers are required to assess each worksite to determine if walking and work surfaces have the strength and structural integrity to safely support workers. Once employers have determined that these surfaces are safe, the employer must select proper fall protection equipment if a fall hazard is present. For example, if an employee is exposed to falling six feet or more from an unprotected side or edge, the employer must select a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system to protect the worker.
Certain industries have specific requirements related to fall protection:
- Construction sites must utilize proper fall protection when employees are working at a level six or more feet high.
- Industrial settings require fall protection for those working at a level four or more feet high. Also, every open-sided floor or platform that is four feet above adjacent ground level must be guarded by a standard railing on all open sides except where there is entrance to a ramp, stairway or fixed ladder.
Methods of Fall Protection
Fall protection is a complicated issue that requires in-depth knowledge of the specifics related to each exposure. For help in determining the most appropriate and compliant method to protect workers, we recommend you visit osha.gov. You can also click on the following links for more information about guardrail systems, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems.