Falls are the leading cause of construction worker fatalities. Each year between 150 and 200 workers die and more than 100,000 are injured as a result of falls at construction sites. Special trade contractors, such as electrician, roofers, ironworkers, carpenters, and structural steel erectors accounted for half of the fatal falls.
Knowing and implementing the following rules will help protect you from such a fall.
Who does the rule apply to? The fall protection rule covers most construction workers. OSHA exempts those who inspect, investigate, or assess workplace conditions prior to the actual start of work or after all work is done. This is because their exposure to fall hazards is for very short durations, if at all.
The rule identifies areas or activities where fall protection is needed.
- ramps, runways, and other walkways
- hoist areas
- formwork and reinforcing steel
- leading edge work
- unprotected sides and edges
- overhand bricklaying and related work
- roofing work
- wall openings
- precast concrete erection
- residential construction
- other walking/working surfaces
What is threshold height? Threshold height is that height where your employer must provide fall protection for the areas or activities described above. For this fall protection rule that height is six feet. At that height, your employer must provide the equipment and training required to protect you from falling off, onto, or through working levels that are six feet or more above lower levels.
Selection of equipment. Under the fall protection rule, employers can select fall protection measures and equipment to fit the type of work you are doing. The three most common methods of providing fall protection are guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems.
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