As you all know, under the OSHA construction standards and I.D.I.'s safety requirements, employees are required to be protected from falls of 6' or more to lower levels. There are many means and methods of protecting yourself including engineering controls, guardrail protection, fall restraint, fall arrest and in some cases a warning line system.
It is important and critical for everyone to know that distance from a fall exposure is not considered fall protection. For example, you could be working on a flat square-shaped roof that measures 300' in length by 300' in width and you are standing and working in the middle of the roof meaning that you are 150' from the edge of the roof which is your closest fall exposure. The 150' distance that your body is from the edge of the roof is not considered as a method of fall protection. In this scenario, you would still need to be protected from falling off the roof by having guardrails installed around you, tying off with a fall restraint system, tying off with a fall arrest system and/or possibly a warning line system surrounding you.
Fall protection needs planning. This article is mainly to stress the point that employees cannot use distance from a 6' fall exposure as their means of fall protection. If you are at a job site and you have to perform duties where there are 6' fall exposures, discuss fall protection methods and planning with your Foreman. If you and/or the Foreman need additional guidance, you should then contract your Superintendent. Your Superintendent will seek input from our Safety Director if more planning is needed.
If you have any questions in regards to fall protection, you are encouraged to call our Safety Director, Peter Graham at (847) 417-1689.
Have a Safe Day!