The OSHA is the main federal agency that enforces safety and health legislation in the workplace. OSHA has established an extensive set of laws regarding fall protection.
In the construction industry in the U.S., falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities. Each year, on average, between 150 and 200 workers are killed and more than 100,000 are injured as a result of falls at construction sites. OSHA recognizes that accidents involving falls are generally complex events frequently involving a variety of factors. Consequently, the standard for fall protection deals with both the human and equipment-related issues in protecting workers from fall hazards. For example, employers and employees need to do the following:
- Where protection is required, select fall protection systems appropriate for given situations.
- Use proper construction and installation of safety systems.
- Supervise employees properly.
- Use safe work procedures.
- Train workers in the proper selection, use and maintenance of all protection systems.
The following are two OSHA standards, OSHA 1920 – General Industry and OSHA 1926 – Construction Industry, which address fall protection. Each standard is different and tailored to its respective industry. Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans, which are required to be at least as effective as Federal OSHA. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies. Other federal standards and consensus standards related to fall hazards are included for reference.
OSHA 1926 – Construction Standards
The construction industry is high-hazard, and Peak Fall Protection wants to do all we can to keep the our clients’ construction workplaces safe and secure. With the proper equipment and training, fall injuries and fatalities can be prevented. The following is a list of the most commonly referenced OSHA safety standard sections addressed by our products and services:
1926.501 – Duty to Have Fall Protection
This section sets forth requirements for employers to provide fall protection systems.
1926.502(b) – Guardrail Systems
This standard establishes requirements for guardrail systems. This includes top rail height of 42, plus or minus 3 inches, from the working surface and mid-rail height that is between the top edge of the guardrail and the working surface. This standard also includes spacing requirements, load specifications, and standards for materials such as plastic or synthetic rope.
1926.502(d) – Personal Fall Arrest Systems
This standard establishes the guidelines for fall arrest systems. This includes requirements for connectors (D-rings and snap hooks), body harnesses and lanyards, vertical and horizontal lifelines, and specifications for anchorages.
1926.502(e) – Positioning Device Systems
This standard provides information on the requirements for positioning devices such as free fall distance, connection points on a body harness, and specifications for equipment used.
OSHA 1910 – General Industry Standards
In addition to ANSI Construction Standards, Peak Fall Protection products and services also comply to ANSI General Industry Standards. The following is a list of the most commonly referenced sections which are addressed by our products and services, including guardrail systems, anchor points and more:
1910.23(a) – Protection of Floor Openings
This standard states that every stairway floor opening shall be guarded by a standard railing. The railing shall be provided on all exposed sides (except at entrance to stairway). For infrequently used stairways where traffic across the opening prevents the use of fixed standard railing (as when located in aisle spaces, etc.), the guard shall consist of a hinged floor opening cover of standard strength and construction and removable standard railings on all exposed sides (except at entrance to stairway). Floor openings are any opening measuring 12 inches or more in its least dimension, in any floor, platform, pavement, or yard through which persons may fall; such as a hatchway, stair or ladder opening, skylight, or large manhole.
1910.66 – Powered Platforms for Building Maintenance
This standard establishes requirements for any building that has or is looking to install a system, fixed or transportable, to be used for building maintenance. These systems include powered platforms, transportable outriggers, davits, and other suspended equipment. This standard also covers requirements that apply to affected part of the building which utilize working platforms; such as structural supports, tie-downs, tie-in guides, and anchoring devices.
Scope. This section covers powered platform installations permanently dedicated to interior or exterior building maintenance of a specific structure or group of structures. This section does not apply to suspended scaffolds (swinging scaffolds) used to service buildings on a temporary basis and covered under subpart D of this part, nor to suspended scaffolds used for construction work and covered under subpart L of 29 CFR part 1926. Building maintenance includes, but is not limited to, such tasks as window cleaning, caulking, metal polishing and reglazing. OSHA…1910.66(g)
Inspection and tests – Periodic inspections and tests.
1910.66(g)(2)(i) Related building supporting structures shall undergo periodic inspection by a competent person at intervals not exceeding 12 months.
1910.66(g)(2)(iii) The building owner shall keep a certification record of each inspection and test required under paragraphs (g)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section. The certification record shall include the date of the inspection, the signature of the person who performed the inspection, and the number, or other identifier, of the building support structure and equipment which was inspected. This certification record shall be kept readily available for review by the Assistant Secretary of Labor or the Assistant Secretary’s representative and by the employer.
Building owners Responsibility – Separate from the annual inspections, building owners shall ensure equipment or anchors be re-certified 1. At periods not to exceed 10 years, 2. When equipment shows excessive wear or damage, 3. When re-roofing or renovation 4. When equipment is modified or removed from the structure 1910.66(g)(1)
1910.66 Appendix C – Personal Fall Arrest Systems
This standard establishes guidelines for an employer’s managed fall arrest system which includes, designs for system components; system performance criteria; care and use; inspections.
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