Fall Protection #2

Fall Protection – Construction

Falls are the leading cause of construction fatalities. Today’s topic covers Subpart M on Fed-OSHA’s Fall Protection in construction.

Fall protection is required on unprotected sides and edges of walking or working surfaces which are 6 feet or more above a lower level. The safety standard sets forth three means of protection. The first method is a Guardrail system. The second is a Safety Net system. The third is a Personal Fall Arrest system. All three methods have been used in construction for many years.

How many guard rails have you seen on a jobsite? If you’re a carpenter, how many have you built? They protect open sided floors, floor holes, elevator shafts, and landings for personnel hoists, etc. To say the least they are everywhere. Guard rails must have a mid rail at 21″ and a top rail at 42″; both rails must withstand a 200 pound force.

Think about safety nets. Many bridge contractors use them. OSHA requires that a safety net be no more than 30 feet below the working surface. Safety nets may be found on high rise construction, bridge construction and repair, shafts and openings, steel and concrete construction, boiler erection, and roof replacement and repair.

Personal fall arrest systems consist of body belts, full body harnesses, lanyards, anchors, connectors, deceleration devices, lifelines, or suitable combinations of these. Many employers are requiring their employees to use full body harnesses; furthermore, others have adopted 100% tie-off policies when workers are above the working surface.

There are three exceptions to the new standard. They are Leading Edge Work, Precast Erection, and Residential Work. These situations require a site-specific Fall Protection Plan which must be written and administered by a competent person. For more information on fall protection review Fed-OSHA Subpart M. If you have questions about what type of fall protection you should be using, ask your supervisor.

Fall Protection Is Designed for Your Benefit. 
Wear It! It’s Something We All Can Learn to Live With!