Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fall Protection

What are the two basic types of FALL PROTECTION?
• Fall restraint systems, like guardrails. These keep you from falling.
• Fall arrest systems, like safety nets. These break your fall.

When should you tie off with a harness & lines if there are no guardrails?
• Cal/OSHA’s main rule is to tie off when the drop is 7½ feet or more.
• There are exceptions to the 7½ ft rule for some trades, e.g. ironworkers & roofers.

Safety nets-When & where should I use them?
• If it is not practical to tie off.
• Should be placed no more than 30-ft below the work area.
• Should extend from 8-13 ft beyond the structure you’re working on and no work proceeds unless the net is placed.

What do you check with fall protection equipment.
• Equipment is installed & used according to the mfr’s instructions.
• Equipment is safety-approved. Look for (ANSI) label
• Everything is in good condition. Remove from service any lanyard or drop line that broke someone’s fall, is frayed & worn.
• You have the right equipment for the job. e.g safety belts are not allowed in fall arrest systems.

Where should you place the anchor end of a lanyard?
• Anchor it at a level no lower than your waist. Limit any fall to a max of 4-ft.
• Anchor it to a substantial structural member, or to a securely rigged catenary or pendant line.
• Don’t anchor to a pipe.

If it’s not practical to tie off or use a safety net what then?
• If usual protection measures are impractical or create a greater hazard, Cal/OSHA allows an employer to develop a fall protection plan.
• The plan allows work to be done in a designated area without normal fall protection. But, alternate measures must be used to reduce falls including special training for workers, & constant observation by a safety monitor.
• Areas without fall protection are called “controlled access zones” -- that only certain trained workers can enter.
• Avoid a fall...Save yourself the pain!

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