Preventing Contruction Accidents and falls by using appropriate equipment
Inadequate, non existent or defective equipment are putting workers at risk of fall or other dangerous construction accidents. Today as part of the second day of the “Safety Stand Down to prevent fatal falls in the construction industry”, employers are invited to check with their employees if they are using the proper equipment for each job and if this equipment is in good working order.
OSHA requires the 3 following fall protection equipment for all construction sites:
- Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) is the most crucial equipment to prevent falls. Anyone working at height including lower height should be using one. The PFAS consists of a fall arrest anchor, a shock absorbing lanyard or retractable lifeline and a full body harness. When used proprely this system can save the life of a worker should he fall. It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure that all employees working at heights of 6 feet or more are provided with this equipment and are using it.
- Guardrails are another essential element of fall safety on construction sites. OSHA requires that guardrails be installed on a construction site anywhere workers are exposed to vertical drops of 6 feet or more. Guardrails systems come in different shapes and material depending on their usage. They are usually composed of a clamp or a boot, a rail and sometimes a safety netting depending on the system.
- Safety netting is the third fall protection equipment legally required by OSHA for construction workers exposed to heights of 6 feet and more. The deployment of personal net systems are designed to catch construction workers who may fall from a high location such as a building, a bridge a silo or other structures. They must be strong enough to support the weight of a falling person and the mesh size has to be small enough to minimize personal injury.
OSHA also requires employers to provide employees with adequate equipment to handle their task such as scaffolds, lifts and ladders. It is crucial that this equipment and tools not only be available to workers but also installed and maintained in perfect working condition.
Picture source: fall protection resources for New Home Construction