What is the height at which fall protection is required? That probably all safety professionals and many employers are searching an answer for this one question. There is not a fixed height across all industries and tasks for which a protection is required. It varies and every employer needs to ensure that his employees have all the required protection when they are working at a certain height.
There are few laws and regulations as far as OSHA and ANSI fall protection is concerned. All employers (whether private or public) need to abide by these laws. Here is everything you needed to know about fall protection height:
While as already mentioned, there is not a fixed height, which is considered safe; there are standard values that many industries follow.
For general industry, the height is 4 feet and this rises to 6 feet in the case of the construction industry. The height varies between 4 feet and 5 feet in the cases of marine terminal and shipyard work.
This means, in any work scenario, if any of your employees were exposed to heights that are equal to or greater than the values mentioned above, you would need to provide them with some sort of protection. This can be any fall protection system, which is connected to a proper fall protection anchor.
Pointers to Keep in Mind
As an employer, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind like:
1. Regardless of the height that you employees are exposed to, it is your duty to offer fall protection all the time, if your workers are working over dangerous machinery or equipment.
2. There are few exceptions to the standard values that are mentioned above. Construction works are dynamic in nature. It is also not easy to foresee fall hazards and it is difficult to always have a fall protection system at place.
3. In the case of scaffolding, fall protection is not required unless the concerned person is off the lower level by 10 feet.
In order to avoid legal hassles and offer your employees a safe environment to work in, make sure you invest in the right protection systems.
Many people emphasize so much on fall protection and prevention to an extent that rescue is always forgotten. Although calling 911 is part of a detailed rescue plan, it is not sufficient explanation. Every company must have a detailed rescue plan that every worker must be aware of and trained in. From a positive point of view, a good rescue plan done according to OSHA fall protection guidelines can avert crisis and limit exposure to risks.
1. Understand what a fall rescue plan is: Detailed rescue plans are procedures planned beforehand to ensure that the organization can retrieve a person who falls from elevated work surface and suspended in a suspended in a full body safety harness. The plan includes use of ropes, winch, davit arm as mechanical aids or using self-rescue methods. You must document this plan according to OSHA fall protection requirements.
2. Rescue sections: A rescue section is not required if your fall protection plan does not have fall arresting components. However, it is a good approach to rescue plan and works to serve your workers, so ensure you have one even if the protection plan does not have fall arrest components.
3. Prompt rescue: OSHA fall protection does require that the rescue be prompt in the event of a fall. If you are planning a rescue, ensure the victim does not hang vertically in a harness as he or she can lose consciousness. Make sure to understand suspension trauma level of the victim, make sure the rescue equipment such as portable ladders and other advanced rescue equipment mentioned above are available.
4. Take care: Rescues can be dangerous, whether you are using simple equipment such as portable ladder, or the most advanced equipment. Hence, they should be planned appropriately. 60 percent of confined space fatalities are would-be rescuers, indicating the necessity of training employees for confined space rescue.
5. Understand types of rescue techniques: These include non-entry which do not require the rescue team to enter the confined space but to use a winch or rope; entry by others where the company calls local fire department or third party emergency rescue teams to carry out rescue; and entry by trained employees of the company where the employees do it (they should be trained and have CPR certification).