Protection equipment reduces falls for construction workers

There's No Substitute for Experience

Construction workers who build in residential areas suffer fatal injuries every year after fall accidents. Protecting workers is a challenge when they are installing walls, especially in multistory buildings, but Tennessee employers and employees must follow the guidelines that OSHA has issued on preventing falls with the proper equipment.

When workers are at six feet or higher, they need to use some kind of fall protection equipment, such as a fall restraint. Fall restraints keep workers from reaching fall hazards, such as open spaces for windows and doors and holes in unfinished floors. When used right, fall restraints tether workers so that they can only move a certain distance. The system uses a body harness or belt, an anchor, connectors and other components such as a lifeline or a lanyard.

The preferred protection among many workers, the personal fall arrest system is useful for construction employees who are framing and installing walls. The anchors that attach to the PFAS must be able to hold 5,000 pounds per worker and be used under the supervision of qualified individuals. Some anchors for the system rotate or have extension arms that improve mobility for the worker and prevent lifelines from touching the floor.

Guardrails can also be used to protect workers from floor, door and window openings. They are set up around the perimeters of floor openings and across door and window openings. The height of the top rail must be 42 inches high plus three inches above working level. There must also be a midrail between the top rail and working surface when no parapet or wall of a minimum 21 inches high is there.

Sometimes accidents happen even despite all precautionary measures having been taken. Workers who are injured on the job might receive workers' compensation benefits such as paid medical treatment and a percentage of wages lost due to an inability to return to work.

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