The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recently released a list of the ten most commonly cited workplace safety issues and their corresponding OSHA regulations (i.e., Code of Federal Regulations or CFR). Fall protection is at the top of the list.
Fall protection regulations are designed to prevent workers falling from heights of usually 6 feet or higher. In addition, fall protection regulations are also designed to protect workers below (ground or lower level) from falling items. For example, scaffolds at certain heights must contain netting or other protective devices to prevent items from falling and striking workers below.
Fall Protection CFR 1926.501
OSHA’s fall protection safety regulations apply to all employers which perform work at designated heights on construction sites. For example, these fall protection regulations (1926.501) would apply to a general contractor overseeing the construction of a large commercial building.
Working at Heights – Specific OSHA Regulations
1926.501(b)(1) “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.
1926.501(b)(4)(i) 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.
Roofing Work & Fall Protection – Specific OSHA Regulations
1926.501(b)(10) “Roofing work on Low-slope roofs.” Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this section, each employee engaged in roofing activities on low-slope roofs, with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or a combination of warning line system and guardrail system, warning line system and safety net system, or warning line system and personal fall arrest system, or warning line system and safety monitoring system. Or, on roofs 50-feet (15.25 m) or less in width (see Appendix A to subpart M of this part), the use of a safety monitoring system alone [i.e. without the warning line system] is permitted.
1926.501(b)(11) “Steep roofs.” Each employee on a steep roof with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems with toeboards, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.
Falling Objects – Specific OSHA Regulations
1926.501(c) “Protection from falling objects.” When an employee is exposed to falling objects, the employer shall have each employee wear a hard hat and shall implement one of the following measures:
1926.501(c)(1) Erect toeboards, screens, or guardrail systems to prevent objects from falling from higher levels; or,
1926.501(c)(2) Erect a canopy structure and keep potential fall objects far enough from the edge of the higher level so that those objects would not go over the edge if they were accidentally displaced; or,
1926.501(c)(3) Barricade the area to which objects could fall, prohibit employees from entering the barricaded area, and keep objects that may fall far enough away from the edge of a higher level so that those objects would not go over the edge if they were accidentally displaced.
Workplace fall accidents commonly occur due to violations of OSHA regulations, and in many cases, the accidents were completely avoidable or preventable. If you were injured on the job in a fall accident, you may be able to receive financial compensation for your pain and suffering, in addition to any workers’ compensation claim.
Related workplace fall accident case results:
- $12 million – A construction accident on the job involving a union roofer who fell from a roof because there was no fall protection and suffered quadriplegia
- $8.5 million – A construction accident on the job involving a union roofer who was working without fall protection and fell from a roof resulting in permanent paraplegic injury
- $2.5 million – An on the job injury where a union carpenter fell on a construction site and was injured because of defective fall protection equipment
Work Accident Lawyer – Falls from Heights
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