Weekly Tool Box Talk –Fall Protection and Prevention

This UASC Toolbox Talk has practical fall protection tips to protect yourself while on work sites. Common SenseWhen you are required to work at heights of 6 feet or more, your employer must take steps to protect you from falling.  Here are some tips you can take to stay safe while working at heights:Keep your mind on your work – no horseplay on the job.  Injury, job termination or both can result.Watch where you are walking.  Never run.Never distract other workers.  To do so may cause injury.Keep your work area free of litter and debris.Keep walking and working surfaces as level as possible.  Faulty patching, sagging supports, warped boards, and poorly constructed working surfaces are conditions to look for to eliminate slips and falls.Keep working surfaces dry and clear.  Grease, oil, water, dirt and ice can create surfaces that are potentially dangerous.Never work aloft if you are afraid to do so, are subject to dizzy spells, or are apt to be nervous or sick.  Be comfortable with your work environment.Wear fall protection equipment when required and as prescribed.Never enter a roped off or barricaded area.Keep away from leading edges of cuts, embankments, trenches, holes and/or pits.If a slip or fall condition exists, take short steps with toes pointed out, and walk on the whole portion of your foot when crossing rough or slippery surfaces.  Do not make sharp turns.  If a fall starts to happen, protect your head and neck from injury.  Relax, go limp and do not resist the fall; as you land, roll.Safety Harness, Lifelines and LanyardsLifelines, safety harness and lanyards shall only be used for employee safeguarding.  Do not use them for material lifting, etc.Any lifeline, safety harness or lanyard, which was actually subjected to an in-service load, shall be removed from service.Secure above the point of operation to a member capable of withstanding a minimum of 5,000 lbs.Lifeline exposed to cutting or abrasion shall have a minimum 7/8 inch diameter rope.  All other lifelines shall have a minimum ¾ inch diameter rope.Minimum breaking strength of the ropes shall be 5,000 lbs.Safety harness lanyard shall be a minimum of  ½ diameter nylon, or equivalent, maximum length of 6 feet, minimum nominal breaking strength of 5,400 lbs.All hardware shall meet the requirements of Federal Specification QQ-P-416.All hardware shall be able to withstand a tensile loading of 4.000 lbs. without any deformations.Which Rule To Follow?Have you wondered which rule to follow for fall protection?  There are several heights at which you must be protected.6 Foot RuleFor construction, Subpart M, Fall Protection, employees working on unprotected sides and ledges, leading edges, hoist areas, around holes, on form work and reinforcing steel, over excavations, and other situations where the employee could fall 6 feet or more, must be protected by a fall protection system, guardrail, safety net or personal fall arrest system (harness).10 Foot RuleFor scaffolding, employees more than 10 feet above a lower level must be protected from falling to a lower level.  Guardrails and personal fall arrest systems are the primary fall protection used.25 Foot RuleFor steel erection, on buildings or structures not adaptable to temporary floors and where scaffolds are not used, safety nets must be installed and maintained whenever potential fall distance exceeds 2 stories or 25 feet.30 Foot RuleIn skeleton steel work, a tightly planked and substantial floor must be maintained within 2 stories or 30 feet, whichever is less. No Foot RuleBelieve it or not, some employees believe you must tie off to a ladder when you are 6 feet or more up the ladder.  The fact is, fall protection for ladders or stairways is to follow the OSHA regulations.  If the ladder or stairway is set up safely, according to the OSHA regulations, and used properly, the ladder or stairway is safe and that is the fall protection. It would be nice if fall protection was all the same, but they are not.  The important thing is to know the requirements.