OSHA Safety Manuals | fall protection
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Excavations Are Serious Business Excavations and trenches need not be deep or large to create a life threatening hazard. Soil is heavy, and failures take place with little or no notice. You can be trapped before there is time to react. So it is important that every excavation be prepared correctly, allowing you to complete your job safely and efficiently. Remember that every trench is different. Soil type, moisture content, depth, configuration, proximity to existing structures, and location of spoil piles all work together to make every excavation unique. Keep these points in mind when working: Follow the recommendations of your...

Don't Gamble With Personal Fall Arrest Equipment  Unsafe fall arrest equipment contributed to the fatal 150-foot fall of an Oregon construction worker recently. Burn holes in the worker's fall arrest straps and a faulty self-retracting lanyard were blamed for the failure. These could have been discovered if adequate equipment inspections had been conducted. Would you gamble with your life? A lot of people do just that when they fail to inspect their personal fall arrest equipment daily. They gamble that the equipment will save their life if they fall. Wearing fall arrest equipment without inspecting it, provides a false sense of security. This...

Engulfment In many worksite situations, workers are at risk for engulfment hazards. Engulfment results when a worker is surrounded and overcome by a granular substance such as soil, sand, gravel, sawdust, seed, grain or flour or if submerged in a liquid such as water or a chemical. Engulfment causes physical harm when the material has enough force on the body to cause injury or death by constriction, crushing, or strangulation. Respiratory hazards associated with engulfment includes suffocation from breathing in a fine substance that fills the lungs or from drowning in a liquid. Trenches or excavation pits at construction sites pose an...

Trenching and Shoring Construction trenching for buried utilities, pipelines, water transport, and other activities may be hazardous. Trenches are usually deeper than they are wide and the walls may become unstable and collapse on top of workers. Trench cave-ins occur when dirt, sand, and rocks collapse into the trench. These materials can engulf, injure, or kill workers in the trench. Soil can be very dense and heavy. When it engulfs workers, it can break bones, immobilize and restrict breathing, or suffocate them outright. First, get training in trenching and shoring procedures. If workers will be entering a trench 5 feet or deeper, you...

Getting High On Safety Constructing new buildings, especially high rises, can be hazardous work not only for those who work on the structure but also for anyone on or around the work site. Before construction begins, a competent person should conduct a hazard assessment of the project, noting where injuries or accidents could possibly occur. Then a plan should be developed to eliminate or safeguard against those hazards. All project workers should be informed of the hazards and be trained in safety practices and procedures to follow so that the project can be completed without an injury incident. As falls are the...

Rebar / Impalement Protection Steel reinforcing bars, or rebar, are a common hazard on construction sites. The thin steel bars can stick out from construction projects and pose a hazard to workers who can cut or scratch themselves on the sharp ends. Workers that stumble or fall onto the exposed steel bars can be pierced or impaled on them, resulting in serious internal injuries and death. To protect workers from this hazard, OSHA requires that rebar and other projections on the worksite "be guarded to eliminate the hazard of impalement." Guarding from rebar impalement hazards must be done when workers will be...

Flat Roofing Safety Single-unit (monolithic) roofing applied to flat roofs may seem “safer” to some roof workers, but the work is still at height and subject to many similar hazards and safety requirements as sloped roof work. Proper fall protection measures, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and adhering to safe work practices can protect workers from fall hazards. Roof workers installing, maintaining, or repairing flat roofs with a height more than 20 feet or using backward-pulling machinery, such as felt-layers need protection from falls. Fall protection measures can include one or a combination of the following: Personal fall protection Catch platforms Scaffold platforms Standard railings and toeboards Eave barriers Parapets 24...

Don’t Fall for Injuries With predictable regularity, falls continue to be a leading cause of accidents and deaths on the job. Falls include those on the same level (floor, ground), as well as from one level to another (stairs, ladders, roof, etcetera). They can be caused by either or both of two reasons - an unsafe action of an individual (hurrying, overreaching, improper use of equipment, etc.) or unsafe condition of the situation (poor housekeeping, unguarded opening, surface condition, etcetera). Good footing is the best way to avoid falls and good housekeeping is the best way to ensure good footing. Trash, wires,...

Keep Up With Ladder Safety Ladder safety begins with selecting the right ladder for the job and includes inspection, setup, proper climbing or standing, proper use, care, and storage. This combination of safe equipment and its safe use can eliminate most ladder accidents. Always check a ladder before using it. Inspect wood ladders for cracks or splits. Inspect metal and fiberglass ladders for bends and breaks. Never use a damaged ladder. Tag it "Defective" and report it to your supervisor. When setting up a ladder, make sure its straight and sitting firmly on the ground or floor. If one foot sits lower, build...

Fall Protection It may seem that a job can be performed more efficiently without spending the time to protect against falls.  However, falls remain one of the top causes of fatalities in construction.  Workers have fallen off edges of every description, especially floors and roofs, and through openings in floors, roofs, and walls.  Fall protection is required whenever a worker faces serious risk of injury, including: on structures where a worker could fall more than 7 feet; on thrust outs, trusses, beams, purlins, and plates at heights over 15 feet; on a sloped roof. To prevent accidental falls at worksites, guardrails and toe...