Who Should Be Wearing Fall Protection & Tied Off In This Photo?
OSHA issued a letter of interpretation that addresses the requirements for use of a body-restraint system on aerial lifts (body restraint is required) versus scissor-lifts (body restraint not required as long as standard guardrails are in place). One last thing about scissor-lifts to keep in mind; in some cases, the manufacturer of a scissor-lift may install a tie-off point(s) in the work platform. In those cases, you should consult their instructions for recommendations as to when it might be necessary to tie-off while using their equipment.
Why is fall protection important?
Falls are among the most common causes of serious work related injuries and deaths. Employers must set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls.
What can be done to reduce falls?
Employers must set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations. In addition, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.
To prevent employees from being injured from falls, employers must:
- Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).
- Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
- Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
- Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.
OSHA requires employers to:
- Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.
- Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition.
- Select and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
- Train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand.
Additional Fall Protection Resources
- Engulfment in a Sugar Hopper (PDF*). OSHA Fatal Facts No. 10, (2015).
- Protecting Roofing Workers (PDF*). OSHA Publication 3755, (2015).
- Fall Protection in Construction (PDF*). OSHA Publication 3146, (2015).
- Narrow Frame Scaffolds (PDF*). OSHA Fact Sheet 3722, (April 2014).
- Material Hoist Collapse (PDF*). OSHA Fatal Facts No. 8, (2014).
- Falling Off Ladders Can Kill: Use Them Safely | Las caídas desde escaleras pueden ser mortales: Úselas de forma segura (PDF* | EPUB** |MOBI**). OSHA Publication 3625, (2013).
- Prevention Videos (v-Tools): Construction Hazards. OSHA.
- Fall Protection in Residential Construction (PDF). OSHA Guidance Document. Also available inSpanish.
- Fall Protection in Residential Construction. OSHA, (2011). Provides links to OSHA tools and resources (Regulations, Directives, Letters of Interpretation, Compliance Assistance materials) to help prevent falls in residential construction.
- Fall Protection Safety for Commercial Fishing(PDF). OSHA Fact Sheet, (2011).
- Fall Protection in General Industry (PDF*). OSHA QuickCard 3257, (2010).
- Fall Prevention/Protection. OSHA Publications. Contains fall prevention materials in English and Spanish.