Fall Hazards at Work: 4 Situations That Require Fall Protection Gear

construction worker wearing protective gear and harness for fallingWe can answer that question with an overarching answer: any time where your workers or passersby could be injured by a fall, either by the impact from them falling, something fall on them, or by falling on substances and dangerous objects, regardless of height.

Imagine that some of these potential fall hazards:

  • Holes or gaps in flooring that people could fall through
  • Open-sided, raised walkways or platforms
  • Sites where ladders are used, people must climb or be at a height where they could fall
  •  If the walkway or platform is not very high, if the possibility exists that an individual or objects could fall onto hazardous substances or objects

Fall Hazard Requirements by Industry

Considering that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets the standards for all operations on work sites in the U.S., we will go over what OSHA states regarding fall protection.

According to OSHA, each industry has different heights that require a company to provide fall protection.

Before a specific rule begins to apply, fall protection must be provided regardless of height if workers are above dangerous objects, such as exposed rebars, acid or dangerous equipment, any of which could cause injury or death if fallen on.

For any general work site that might involve a fall, the standard for height that OSHA requires the employer or site owner to provide fall protection gear.

Any General, Not-Specified Industry = 4 feet

Shipyards = 5 feet

Construction industry = 6 feet

Long shore operations = 8 feet

Steel erection activities = 10 feet

Deckers = 30 feet

Note that these are just the heights that trigger regulations coming into effect within these industries. You should become more familiar with the specs required for the protective gear you need to remain in compliance.

Specific Fall Protection Requirements for Each Piece of Gear

For specifics about each type of hazard you’ll find an extensive list on the OSHA website here: Fall Protection Standards.

In summary, OSHA lists the specific regulations on ladders, slippery conditions, docks, access areas, elevators, hatch coverings, stairways and more, for each industry.

These pages declare the precautions that both the employer and the employee are obligated to take.

Most of them are actions that ensure that safeguards are taken, such as written confirmation that the employer has tested anchor points that hold onto workers via a rope and harness system, or statements that workers may not work in windy or stormy weather conditions.

Also listed here are the strict regulations that calculate required ladder and rung heights in relation to the levels they are to reach, specific weights that a man lift landing must be able to support, clearing heights, tensile strength requirements and more.

A great OSHA resource is a Trainer Guide that helps cover with workers protection gear standards, and other must-know information for site safety.

Fall Protection Gear that Meets U.S. OSHA Standards

At Safeware Inc., we have thousands of products that comply with industry standards. In business since 1979, we also have the experience to know what are the best products to keep in stock for most industries. Here is just a short list of what we can help you find for your specific work site (see our full list of fall protection gear here):

  • Pulleys, descenders and anchors for an anchorage system
  • Rappel gloves
  • Professional carabiners, hooks, D-rings
  • Trauma suspension straps
  • Harnesses (confined space, vest style, open, etc)
  • Leg lifelines
  • Extenders, lanyards and ropes
  • Energy absorbers
  • Self-retracting lifeline (SRL) devices
  • Netting
  • Signage
  • Guards and cones
  • Fall protection rescue kits including stretchers

Don’t hesitate to call and speak with someone at Safeware Inc. We want to hear about your work site operations so we can help you narrow down choices of fall protection gear you’ll want. Call us at 1-800-331-6707 or write us online at any of the branches closest to you.