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When is fall protection required in the construction industry?

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Discover the essential guidelines and regulations for fall protection in the construction industry in the US. Learn when and where it is required to ensure worker safety and compliance with industry standards.

In the dynamic and ever-evolving construction industry, safety should always be a top priority. Among the various hazards that workers face, falls continue to be a leading cause of serious injuries and fatalities. To mitigate these risks, fall protection measures are crucial. But when exactly is fall protection required in the construction industry? This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the guidelines and regulations surrounding fall protection in the US construction industry.

Understanding Fall Protection Requirements:

  1. Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Standards:
  • OSHA requires fall protection to be provided at elevations of six feet or more in general industry workplaces. However, in the construction industry, fall protection is required at heights of six feet or more for most circumstances.
  • In specific cases, such as working on scaffolds or near dangerous equipment, fall protection may be required at heights of four feet or more.
  • Additionally, OSHA mandates that fall protection systems must be used when working above dangerous equipment or machinery, regardless of the height.
  1. Fall

Construction Industry Fall Protection Standards. (b)(1) Unprotected sides and edges. Each employee on a walking/working surface with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.

What is a walking working surface with an unprotected side or edge?

Unprotected sides and edges mean any side or edge of a walking-working surface (except at entrances and other points of access) where there is no wall, guardrail system, or stair rail system to protect an employee from falling to a lower level.

What is the OSHA standard for unprotected sides and edges?

Subpart M definitions

"Unprotected sides and edges means any side or edge (except at entrances to points of access) of a walking/working surface, e.g. floor, roof, ramp, or runway where there is no wall or guardrail system, at least 39 inches (1.0 m) high."

At what height must fall protection be provided to construction workers who are working on surfaces with unprotected sides and edges above the lower level?

Six feet

1. Workers in the construction industry, who are working on surfaces with unprotected sides or edges which are ______ or more above the lower level, must be protected from falls by their employer. ANSWER: Six feet is the general rule for the Construction Industry, i.e. it's the threshold when no specific rule applies.

What 3 types of fall protection can be provided?

What kinds of Fall Protection should employers use? Generally, fall protection can be provided through the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. OSHA refers to these systems as conventional fall protection.

What are the OSHA standards for fall protection construction?

Each employee on a walking/working surface 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level where leading edges are under construction, but who is not engaged in the leading edge work, shall be protected from falling by a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system.

What is the fall protection rule for the construction industry?

OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does OSHA require fall protection in construction?

When must employers provide Fall Protection? The 6-foot rule. Subpart M requires the use of fall protection when construction workers are working at heights of 6 feet or greater above a lower level.

How far from unprotected edge is fall protection required?

Free fall distance must never exceed 6 feet.

At what height must employees who are on a walking-working surface with an unprotected edge be protected by conventional fall protection?

6 feet

Unprotected sides and edges. Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.

FAQ

What are the OSHA regulations for fall protection in the construction industry?

Each employee on a walking/working surface 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level where leading edges are under construction, but who is not engaged in the leading edge work, shall be protected from falling by a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system.

In which situation would fall protection not be required?

Under the terms of the standard, fall protection is not required for employees who are on vehicles and trailers when the employee must be on the vehicle or trailer to perform his or her duties.

What are the 2 types of fall protection used in construction?

It should work to eliminate the risk of falls and/or minimize the risk of injury if one does occur. Fall protection systems can be classified into two main categories: passive or active.

When is fall protection required in the construction industry?

What is meant by the OSHA 6 foot rule?

Each employee on walking/working surfaces shall be protected from falling through holes (including skylights) more than 6 feet (1.8 m) above lower levels, by personal fall arrest systems, covers, or guardrail systems erected around such holes.

What does six foot rule mean in construction?

The “6-foot” rule is a general rule of thumb in the construction industry. Basically, it requires that fall protection be provided when work occurs at heights of six feet or greater above a lower level.

Why is free fall limited to 6 feet?

In the event of a fall it is important to ensure that the worker will not free fall more than 6 feet. Free falling more than 6 feet has broken workers necks from impact force. If workers contact lower levels the PFAS is useless.

  • How many feet is fall protection required?
    • OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations.

  • What is the 6 foot ladder rule?
    • Unprotected sides and edges. Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.

  • When is fall protection required in the construction industry
    • In addition, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance. To prevent 

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