The following are five examples of places where this might occur.
This is an attitude most workers seem to have. And why not? No one goes to work, thinking, "I am going to get hurt today." Although it seems somewhat pessimistic, workers should be thinking "I could get hurt today, so I will take every precaution to prevent it." My husband, Russ, had the attitude "It won't happen to me". He woke up on the morning of November 8th, 1995, kissed me goodbye, looked in on Spencer, our two-year-old, and left for his job as a commercial painter. As soon as they got their spider unit (scaffolding) set up, management called everyone in for a safety meeting. This was considered nothing but an annoyance to Russ, but he signed the clipboard, and was just glad to come in out of the rain. He doesn't remember, to this day, what that meeting was about.
Anchor point selection can be difficult. For many safety professionals, it is a black and white area that offers no gray option in between. The rule says the anchor point must have the ability to support 5000 lbs. per person attached or it’s no good, right? Maybe not. Perhaps the reason that this belief is so widespread is that it’s the simplest way to enforce the rule. 5000 lbs., yes or no? Most people relying on safety personnel to interpret the OSHA standards will think it sounds plausible enough and find ways to be compliant. The catch is, though, that this is not exactly what the standard says. In fact, by following this cut-and-dried rule, you may be eliminating perfectly good anchor points in a situation where it’s already difficult to achieve proper fall protection.
Fall protection regulations can be confusing to begin with, but throw in a subpart that includes an exception to the rule and there’s bound to be people who get completely lost. To fully understand the requirements related to scaffolding fall protection, you must first understand the concept of vertical and horizontal standards.
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.