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The Continuing Need for Fall Protection

 

Historically, falls are the leading cause of fatalities in construction, accounting for about one-third of all fatalities in the industry. Employers have a huge responsibility in taking care of their workers and providing the right fall protection equipment so they can do their job safely.

 

What are employers' responsibilities to provide Fall Protection?

Initially, employers must assess the workplace to determine if walking or working surfaces have the necessary strength and structural integrity to safely support the workers. Once it is determined that the work surfaces will safely support and hold the work activity, the employer must determine whether fall protection is required (using the requirements set forth in 29 CFR 1926.501) and, if so, select and provide workers with fall protection systems that comply with the criteria found in 29 CFR 1926.502.

 

When must employers provide Fall Protection?

Subpart M requires the use of fall protection when construction workers are working at heights of 6 feet or greater above a lower level. It applies at heights of less than 6 feet when working near dangerous equipment, for example, working over

 machinery with open drive belts, pulleys or gears or open vats of degreasing agents or acid. Ritz Safety offers many Fall

 Protection Systems:

 

What kinds of Fall Protection should employers use?

Generally, fall protection can be provided through the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. Other systems and methods of fall protection may be used when performing certain activities. For example, when working on formwork, a positioning device system could be used. We encourage employers to select systems that prevent falls of any kind, such as guardrails designed to keep workers from falling over the edge of a building.

 

Fall Protection Training is also a requirement - 29 CFR 1926.503

Employers must provide a fall protection training program to workers who might be exposed to fall hazards. The employer must assure that each worker has been trained as necessary, by a competent person who is qualified. Ritz Safety offers many training programs, including Fall Protection Training.

 

Workers' have the right to:

  • Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
  • Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
  • Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.

OSHA has provided quality video resources for Employers and their workers:

OSHA Prevention Tools

Preventing Falls in the Solar Industry

Preventing Falls Through Skylights

Falls from Formwork

Fall Protection Can Save Your Life

 

Stop Falls. Stand-Down.

Want to know more about National Safety Stand-Down?

 

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