How often have you seen workers in boom lifts with absolutely no fall protection? I’m willing to bet it’s pretty often. What those workers don’t realize (let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they haven’t been properly trained), is that you are required to be tied-off the moment you step into the basket of a boom lift. How you achieve tie-off may vary, but you must always be tied-off. 29 CFR 1926.453(b)(v) states that “A body belt shall be worn and a lanyard attached to the boom or basket when working from an aerial lift.” Note that there is no qualifier to this statement – no height at which it kicks in, no type of work you need to be performing, no amount of time you will be in the basket. If you are working from an aerial lift, you must be tied off.
Railings are a great option for construction sites where things change on a daily basis. Some sites will opt to have their carpenters build the rails from scratch, but products exist that can save you money in labor as well as in materials since they can be moved and reused from job to job. How, though, do you determine which ones are right for your project
Ladders are something we take for granted; everybody has been on one at some point in their life and is comfortable with how to climb them. Even the ones mounted to the sides of our workplaces are familiar enough that we don’t give a second thought about what might or might not be proper usage. What sometimes gets overlooked is fall protection. When you grab the lowest rung on the side of your manufacturing plant, warehouse, or office building and look straight up, it could seem like you have a pretty difficult climb ahead of you. Whether that bothers you or not, doesn’t change the fact that at some point you will be 10, 20, or even 30 feet in the air which means you will need some form of fall protection. That’s where ladder cages come in.
Anchor points and horizontal lifelines are two ways to achieve the same purpose: protecting your employees from a fall. Each method has its pros and cons, as well as appropriate and inappropriate times for use. Perhaps, though, the most important question to ask is: should you use them at all? Anchor points and horizontal lifelines are part of Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) which means that in order for them to come into use, a fall must occur. Even with properly installed and used systems, injuries could still occur.
Here is a friendly reminder to practice safe work habits.
Let’s be honest: not everybody has the personality to be a trainer. It’s easy to hand somebody some information and say, “Here, go teach this to your workers,” but can they do it in such a way that their audience will actually retain that information? Pre-job safety meetings, also known as “Toolbox Talks” because of their common use in the construction industry, are often performed on a weekly basis by a crew’s foreman or supervisor. These individuals don’t necessarily have any training or skills in training other people. Here are some tricks to the trade that can mean the difference between having your workforce learn some vital information and providing your workforce an extra 10-15 minutes of nap time.
To say insurance is not cheap would be an understatement. We live in a litigious society that requires you to ensure your company is protected no matter the cost. A good broker will help you find the best deal on insurance policies, but even then you could be eligible for further discounts. The problem is that many companies do not realize which programs are available to them. Sometimes discounts are available for things they are already doing with their health and safety programs.
Manufacturers have made great strides in occupational safety technology. In fact, for almost every situation there is a solution. Roof anchors are a perfect example. Obviously, one roof can be very different from the next, so an anchor point used on one can be completely useless on another. The fact that temporary and/or mobile anchor points exist is great, but it is more important that in addition to using them, you ensure that you are using the correct one.
Regardless of how much effort OSHA, the EHS industry and employers put into fall prevention, falls continue to occur. In a perfect world, all efforts to prevent falls would be 100% successful, but it’s not a perfect world. Failure to take measures to reduce the impact of an actual fall is like refusing to learn CPR because we teach our employees to eat well and exercise. Sometimes, employee behavior, unexpected conditions, or even forces of nature can derail what was believed to be a “fool-proof” prevention plan.
There are many different types of railings on the market, not to mention the 2x4 or wire rope job-built railings you find on many construction sites. The quick and simple answer to “What height must a railing be in order to be compliant?” would be 42”, but, as with many other things in the world of governmental compliance, there are some nuances to that answer.