OSHA standards for fall protection state that three types of protection to be used for fall protection. These are commonly called conventional fall protections, read more about them below.
OSHA released a final rule covering FALL PROTECTION in the construction industry way back on February 6, 1995. This rule can be found in CFR 1926 Subpart M. The procedures specified in this standard are intended to prevent employees from falling off, onto, or through working levels, and to protect them from falling objects.
The standard stresses three types of protection to be used for fall protection. These are commonly called conventional fall protections and they consist of: guardrail systems, safety net systems and personal fall arrest systems. It's up to your employer to determine which method is going to be used when an employee is on a walking or working surface, horizontal or vertical, with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet or more above a lower level.
This includes floors, roofs, ramps, bridges, runways, etc., but not ladders, scaffolds vehicles, or trailers, on which employees must be located in order to perform their job.
As a construction worker you also need to know that the subpart does NOT apply when employees are making an inspection, investigation, or assessment of workplace conditions prior to the actual start of construction work, or after all construction has been completed.
To be allowed to make an inspection without fall protection, there must be no work going on, no materials or other hazards on the work level and the inspector cannot use any tools.
In addition, Subpart M specifies that as of January 1, 1998, body belts are not acceptable as part of a personal fall arrest system. The use of a non-locking snap hook as a part of personal fall arrest systems and positioning device systems will be prohibited.
What this means to you is that non-locking snap hooks and body belts are a thing of the past in the construction industry. Workers will be using full body harnesses with locking snap hooks for fall arrest systems.
The Standard Requires Employers to Train Employees, Retrain Them When Equipment or Site Changes Occur, and Certify and Date the Training.
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