Comprehensive Fall Prevention Systems

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Creating Fall Prevention Systems in Areas that Aren’t Always Defined by Elevation

According to most insurance companies, falls are the number one cause of all workplace accidents, resulting in injuries and fatalities. But, victims of falls are not always working at what would be considered dangerous heights therefore fall prevention systems or guardrails may not be in place. Many companies provide their employees with slip, trip and fall prevention training, which is an acknowledgement of the fact that workers don’t have to fall far to suffer a serious or fatal injury.

Fall Prevention Systems That Might Be Overlooked

In its Fall Protection in Construction publication, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists some of the less recognized fall hazards and the measures that should be taken to protect workers:

  • Hoist Areas – 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(3)

Each worker in a hoist area must be protected from falling 6 feet or more by fall prevention systems such as guardrails or personal fall arrest systems. There may be times when the guardrail systems (or chain, gate, or guardrail) must be removed in whole or part to facilitate hoisting operations.

For example, during the landing of materials, a worker may need to lean through the access opening or out over the edge of the access opening to receive or guide equipment and materials. At such times a personal fall arrest system must be used to protect the worker from falling through the unprotected opening.

  • Holes – 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(4)

Each worker on walking or working surfaces must be protected from falling through holes (including skylights) that are more than 6 feet above lower levels, by personal fall arrest systems, covers, or guardrail systems erected around such holes. 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(4)(i).

Each worker on a walking or working surface must be protected from tripping in or stepping into or through holes (including skylights) by covers. 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(4)(ii).

  • Ramps, Runways, and Other Walkways – 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(6)

Each worker on a ramp, runway, or other walkway must be protected by a fall prevention system such as guardrails against 6 feet or more.

  • Excavations – 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(7)

Each worker at the edge of an excavation 6 feet or more deep must be protected by a fall prevention system such as guardrails, fences, or barricades when the excavation cannot be readily seen because of plant growth or other visual barrier. 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(7)(i).

Each worker at the edge of a well, pit, shaft, and similar excavation 6 feet or more deep must be prevented from falling by guardrail systems, fences, or barricades, or covers. 29 CFR 1926.502(b)(7)(ii).

  • Dangerous Equipment – 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(8)

When working 6 feet or more above dangerous equipment, each worker must be prevented from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. 29 CFR 1926.502(b)(8)(ii).

When working less than 6 feet above dangerous equipment, each worker must be protected by a fall prevention system such as guardrails or equipment guards. 29 CFR 1926.502(b)(8)(i).

  • Wall Openings – 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(14)

Each worker working on, at, above, or near wall openings (including those with chutes attached), where the outside bottom edge of the wall opening is 6 feet or more above lower levels and the inside bottom edge of the wall opening is less than 39 inches above the walking or working surface, must be protected with a guardrail system, a safety net system, or a personal fall arrest system.

To avoid falls or any other type of accident, it is incumbent on all those who work at facilities or jobsites, to remain forever vigilant in their analysis of workplace surroundings and the condition of those surroundings. Regardless of the task being performed, careful scrutiny of the conditions in spaces you have to move through and objects you interact with is crucial to your fall prevention and safety.

Safe T Pros Can Provide An On-Site Risk Assessment On Fall Prevention Areas

To identify potential fall hazards, contact Safe T Professionals for a comprehensive risk assessment of your jobsite or workplace and the measures you can take to protect your personnel by setting up OSHA-approved fall prevention systems.

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