Fall Protection: OSHA Safety Standards
Fall protection is an imperative practice in any work site that is elevated more than one story off the ground. There are standards that need to be practiced in order to ensure the safety of workers who perform their job at these elevated heights. The Signage industry, specifically sign installers and maintenance workers whose jobs can have them at potentially fatal heights, is no different when it comes to fall protection regulations.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has standards that need to be met in order to ensure the safety of employees whose occupations require them to be at dangerous heights.
The fall protection standards enforced by OSHA include:
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 or 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 and 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.
The OSHA standards for fall protection are pretty cut and dry and make a lot of sense. If a business has workers who need to be high off the ground, precautions should be taken to lessen the likelihood of a fall (like guardrails and floor hole covers) and also to save them from injury should a fall occur (most notably safety harnesses). Taking these precautions is an effective practice in mitigating risk and preventing what could be fatal injuries to an employee.
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