The What When and Why of OSHA Fall Protection

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If you work in construction today, then you already know that there are many different kinds of safety regulations in place for whatever type of construction job you are working on. The Occupational Saftey and Health Act of 1970, or OSHA, was designed “to assure the safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.”

Among other things, a large part of the act is meant to provide research, information, education, and training in the field of workplace safety. One of the more specific areas of safety is focused on OSHA fall protection and the implementation and practice of those guidelines.

While OSHA fall protection might seem like a broad-based area of focus, a general way of focusing on the act can be distilled more specifically. Here are the what, when, and why of OSHA fall protection guidelines.

1.) What

In order to implement the guidelines of the act, OSHA has developed a three step process to ensure the safety of workers in the best way possible. This three step process includes: plan, provide, and train. There must always be a plan set up and in place in order to prevent falls. In addition, the plan must include steps to take in the event a fall should happen. Companies must provide these measures on every site and train the workers fully on all facets of the safety protocols, including fall protection equipment and every fall protection system.

2.) When

If a worker is six feet or more above lower levels, he is at serious risk of falling. In such cases, employers must protect their workers by providing fall protection and the proper supplies for each job. This includes the right kind of ladders, scaffolds, and any other safety gear. OSHA fall protection requires that fall protection must be provided at elevations of four feet, generally. The requirements are extended to five feet for shipyards, six feet for most construction industry sites, and eight feet for long-shoring operations.

3.) Why

There are many complex factors involved in a fall on a job site. The standard of OSHA fall protection encompasses both human and equipment-related issues in protecting workers from fall hazards. Preventing falls is at the heart of the guidelines in the OSHA act, and the implementation of these guidelines has been proven to reduce the number of injuries on construction sites over the years. With the advancement of technology, new methods of safety are being developed every day, keeping workers safe and construction going strong.

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