Unlike the personal fall-arrest system, which is designed to stop a fall, a personal fall-restraint system prevents a worker from reaching an unprotected edge and thus prevents a fall from occurring. The system consists of an anchorage, connectors, and a body harness or a body belt. The attachment point to the body belt or full body harness can be at the back, front, or side D-rings.
The anchorage for a fall-restraint system must support at least 3,000 pounds or be designed and installed with a safety factor of at least two. If you're not sure how much an anchorage will support, have a qualified person evaluate it.
Positioning-device systems make it easier to work with both hands free on a vertical surface such as a wall or concrete form. Positioning-device systems are also called Class II work-positioning systems and work-positioning systems.
The components of a positioning-device system - anchorage, connectors, and body support - are similar to those of a personal fall-arrest system. However, the systems serve different purposes.
A positioning-device system provides support and must stop a free fall within 2 feet; a personal-fall-arrest system provides no support and must limit free-fall distance to 6 feet.
A guardrail system consists of a top rail, midrail, and intermediate vertical member. Guardrail systems can also be combined with toeboards that prevent materials from rolling off the walking/working surface.
Guardrail systems must be free of anything that might cut a worker or snag a worker's clothing. Top rails and midrails must be at least 1/4-inch thick to reduce the risk of hand lacerations; steel or plastic banding cannot be used for top rails or midrails. Other requirements for guardrails:
Safety-net systems consist of mesh nets and connecting components.
The minimum horizontal distance to the net's outer edge depends on how far below the working surface the net is placed.
Net's distance below work surface
Minimum horizontal distance from the edge of the working surface to the net's outer edge:
Up to 5 feet
5 to 10 feet
Over 10 feet
A warning-line systems consist of ropes, wires or chains, and supporting stanchions that mark off an area within which work can be done without guardrails, personal fall-arrest systems, restraint systems, or safety nets.
Warning-line systems can only be used for roofing work on roofs that have slopes of 2:12 or less, vertical to horizontal. The purpose of the line is to warn roofers that they are near an unprotected edge.
The warning line must be at least 6 feet from an unprotected edge and meet the following criteria:
Those who do roofing work between the warning line and an unprotected roof edge must be protected with personal fall-arrest systems, restraint systems, guardrail systems, safety monitoring systems, or safety nets.
A slide-guard system prevents workers from sliding down a sloped roof. The system consists of a slide guard (typically 2-by-6-inch lumber) and at least two roof brackets. A slide-guard system can also be made at the work site without manufactured roof brackets.
It's important to understand that slide guard systems cannot be used by themselves as the primary fall protection system. They are not permitted to be used instead of conventional fall protection methods during roofing work (removal, repair, or installation of weatherproofing roofing materials, such as shingles, tile, and tar paper). However, slide guards may be used as part of a written, site-specific fall protection plan if the employer can prove that the use of conventional fall protection would be infeasible or create greater hazards.
When other fall protection methods are not feasible and a competent person has developed a written plan, safety monitoring systems may be used. This is a method in which a person, rather than a mechanical system, warns workers doing repairs when they are in danger of falling. The monitor, who must be a competent person, is responsible for recognizing fall hazards and warning workers about them. Safety monitoring systems must meet the requirements of OSHA 29 CFR 1926.502(h).
Safety monitoring can be used only to protect those who do roofing work on roofs that have slopes less than or equal to 4 in 12 (vertical to horizontal) and widths no greater than 50 feet. Safety monitoring on roofs wider than 50 feet is not permitted unless a warning-line system also protects the workers.
The safety monitor's responsibilities:
Only those who are doing roofing work are permitted in the area controlled by the safety monitor. Mechanical equipment can't be used or stored in the area.
Catch platforms, which consist of a stable platform and an attached standard guardrail, can protect roofers when other systems or methods are not feasible. Platform guidelines:
Simple and effective when they're properly installed, rigid covers prevent workers from falling through skylights or temporary openings and holes in walking/working surfaces.
Safety criteria for covers:
Fences and barricades are warning barriers, usually made from posts and wire or boards, that keep people away from hazards such as wells, pits, and shafts.
You need to protect yourself from falling when you work on an elevated surface and be aware of those working above or below you. Protect yourself and others from falling objects with one of the following methods:
When doing overhand bricklaying, keep materials and equipment (except masonry and mortar) at least 4 feet from the working edge. When doing roofing work, keep materials and equipment at least 6 feet from the roof edge unless there are guardrails along the edge. All piled, grouped, or stacked material near the roof edge must be stable and self-supporting. No amount of precaution will work if employees do not use safe work practices.
This California Public Health video explains the events that led to a roofing supervisor's death after he fell 30 feet through a warehouse roof skylight onto a floor. Photographs from the fatality investigation are supplemented with scenes recreated by co-workers who were there that day.
Watch this WorkSafeBC video: Fall Protection - Work Procedures that highlights the need for fall protection systems in the workplace. With dramatic footage of accidents and computer animation, this video outlines the steps to develop safe practices when working from heights.
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