One of the top four risks of death for construction workers is falling from a height of six feet or more. However, accidents caused by falling could be prevented if employers followed OSHA’s personal fall techniques, such as planning both the job and the safety measures needed, providing the right equipment and fall prevention, and training employees in the use of equipment. Key to keeping construction workers safe is having a personal fall arrest system.
Equipment Included in a Personal Fall Arrest System
When construction sites require working from heights, employers are required by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to use fall protection to help keep workers safe. OSHA recommends employers utilize a personal fall arrest system that includes the following:
A body harness is used to minimize stress on an employee’s body if he falls while giving him enough freedom of motion to work.
Body harness attachment.
The body harness attachment should be located in the center of the employee’s back to optimize safety.
Each employee must be attached to his own lifeline or lanyard except for limited exceptions, and the lifeline or lanyard must have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds.
The webbing in ropes, the straps of lifelines and lanyards, and body harnesses must be made of synthetic fibers.
Anchorages used to attach personal fall equipment must be independent of any used to suspend or support platforms and must be able to support 5,000 pounds per employee attached.
These must be designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a qualified person and must be part of a system with a safety factor of at least two. On suspended scaffolds or similar platforms with horizontal lifelines that can become vertical ones, the devices used to connect the horizontal lifeline must be able to lock in both directions.
Connectors must be made from drop-forged, pressed or formed steel, or similar materials and must have a corrosion-resistant finish to protect the connecting parts of the system.
Unfortunately, many employers do not protect their workers by implementing this type of fall prevention system, and construction workers risk serious injuries and death while on the job. However, an injured worker may be entitled to compensation for his medical bills, lost wages, and more from his employer.
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