Everybody experiences a fall at some point during their lives. In fact, falls in Scranton may seem so routine that it comes as a surprise to you to learn that they are among the leading causes of workplace injuries and fatalities. In most cases, it is not so much the fall itself that is dangerous, but rather the circumstances in which it occurs. Many of the workplace falls that produce serious injuries and fatalities occur in the construction industry. If you happen to work in that sector, then you will no doubt want to know what fall protection measures your employers is required to provide for you and your coworkers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets the standards for fall prevention. When regulating the construction industry, the magic number is 6 (6 feet, that is). That is the height above which your employer is required to provide you with fall protection when working with the following elements:
- Roofs and leading edges
- Hoist areas
- Holes and excavations
- Ramps, runways and walkways
- Forms and precast concrete structures
- Dangerous equipment
More specifically, fall protection must be provided when working on or near any of the aforementioned elements that sits more than 6 feet above the nearest underlying surface. The fall protections required by OSHA include barricades, guardrails, safety nets and fall arrest systems (harnesses).
When doing bricklaying, if you are required to reach more than 10 inches below the surface you are working on, your employer must also provide railing, nets or harnesses to protect you from falling. In reference to bricks and other objects that might fall from above, your employer must consider their damaging potential and provide you with a hard hat if that is a possibility you could encounter on a job site.