TOOLBOX TALK: WORKING FROM HEIGHTS – FALL PROTECTION
Injuries from falls are one of the most common workplace accidents in the construction industry. Falls also represent close to 40% of fatal construction accidents throughout the work year. Weifield Group’s employees must understand how to identify fall hazards, while also understanding the ways they can protect themselves from falls.
Areas Where Fall Hazards Exist:
Any height greater than 4 feet is considered a hazard and must be protected. This includes:
– Floor Openings
– Loading Docks
– Work Platforms (Scaffolds, Ladders)
Weifield Ways to Protect Employees from Fall Hazards:
The most effective way to protect employees from falls is by eliminating the hazard. Passive systems such as guardrails and covers, remove the employee’s exposure to the hazard.
– Always work within the confines of the guardrail
– Must meet design requirements (spacing, height, etc.) of OSHA CFR 1910.23
Note: A standard guardrail must be 42 inches in height, have an intermediate rail, proper spacing of the posts and be capable of supporting 200 lbs of force
– Must support the intended load or at least 400 lbs. (20,000 lbs. if vehicle traffic)
– Must lay even with the floor; protruding covers create a tripping hazard
Boundary Lines System:
– Must be erected 6 feet from the edge of the roof or fall hazard.
– Only used in certain roofing activities; not approved by OSHA
– Must be 34 inches high and visible in all weather conditions for safe work practices
Note: A roof boundary system is used to limit employees’ access to the fall hazard. The system includes posts, rope(s), and warning flags distributed along the rope(s).
Safe Work Distances:
– 6 feet from the edge: conventional fall protection (guardrail, fall restraint or fall arrest system) is required
– Between 6 and 15 feet from the edge: conventional fall protection (guardrail, fall restraint or fall arrest system) is required
– 15 feet and greater from the edge: conventional fall protection (guardrail, fall restraint or fall arrest system) is required
– Pathway must be clearly marked and employees trained
Note: NEW RULE took effect January 1, 2017 – OSHA 1910 Subpart D – Walking/Working Surfaces
Fall Protection Equipment Must Be Used and Cared for Properly!
Personal Fall Arrest System:
– Inspect lanyard, harness, rings and other components before each use
– Inspect anchors annually and have them tested every 10 years
– Ensure the lanyard is the correct length for the height you will be working
– Train employees on how to use, inspect, and maintain fall arrest equipment
– Replace equipment that is damaged or subjected to loads from a fall