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Fall Protection for Construction A Survival Guide

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1 Fall Protection for Construction A Survival Guide
Georgia Tech

2 Statistics Falls are the number one cause of fatalities in the construction industry. workers are killed each year and more than 100,000 injured as a result of falls. Overall (including general industry) falls are the number two biggest cause of fatalities in the U.S. (motor vehicle accidents are number one).

3 Statistics Falls % Struck By % Electrical % Caught In %

4 Statistics 40% of the fatalities were from heights over 40 feet
Most falls occur on scaffolds or roofs 25% of fall fatalities were from heights of feet 25% of fall fatalities were from heights of feet

5 Most Frequently Cited Unprotected sides & edges - Fall protection
Fall hazards training program Fall protection - Residential construction 6’ or more Fall protection - Roofing work on low-slope roofs Fall protection - Steep roofs

6 Physics of a Fall A body in motion (free fall) can cover vast distances in a short period of time. Consider this: A body in free fall can travel 4 ft in 0.5 seconds A body in free fall can travel 16 ft. in 1 second A body in free fall can travel 64 ft. in 2 seconds

7 Application of Regulations
Subpart M ( ) applies to fall protection during construction activities. There are a few exceptions from this rule for the following activities: Inspection Investigation Assessing conditions prior to or after the work is performed

8 Application of Regulations
Other existing standards for fall protection are discussed in different standards (subpart M would not cover the following items): Scaffolds (subpart L) Cranes (subpart N) Steel Erection (subpart R) Stairs and Ladders (subpart X) Power Transmission (Subpart V)

9 Contents of Subpart M 500: Scope, Application and definitions
501: Duty to have fall protection 502: Fall protection systems 503: Training Requirements Appendices A: Roof widths B: Guardrail systems C: Fall arrest systems D: Positioning device systems E: Fall Protection Plan

10 Duty to Have Fall Protection 1926.501
Fall protection is required when one or more employees have exposure to falls of six feet or greater to the lower level. Surfaces must be inspected before the work begins. Employees are only permitted to be on surfaces that are strong enough to support them.

11 Duty to have Fall Protection
The following areas require fall protection when employees are exposed to falls (six feet or greater): Leading edges Ramps/runways Residential construction Hoist areas Wall and floor openings Unprotected sides and edges Above dangerous equipment (any height) Overhand brick laying Steep or low slope roofs Walking surfaces Form work and reinforcing steel Excavations, wells, pits Precast concrete

12 Duty to have Fall Protection Low Slope Roofs
Low slope roofs (under 50 feet in width): Fall protection systems or Safety monitor (with elements required in this subpart) Low slope roofs (50 feet width or greater): Fall protection systems (safety nets, guardrails, PFAS) or combination of Warning lines and safety monitor or Warning lines and guardrails or PFAS

13 Protection from Falling Objects 1926.501(c)
Protection from falling objects is a requirement. Employee working in an area where there is a danger of falling objects must wear a hard hat. Employer must take steps to protect employees from hazards (establish barricades or build canopies).

14 Types of Fall Protection
Passive are protective systems that do not involve the actions of employees. Active includes systems and components that require manipulation by employees to make them effective in providing protection.

15 Examples of Fall Protection
Passive system include: Guardrails Safety nets Covers Fences Barricades Active systems components (personal fall arrest system-PFAS) include: Anchorage points Lanyard Snap hooks Life lines Body harness

16 Active Systems Designed to operate in free fall situations.
Must be connected to other systems/components or activated to provide protection. Active systems are designed to protect employees from the following items: Falls Forces that can cause injury

17 Guardrails (b) Guardrails are the most common form of fall protection. May be made of wood, pipe, structural steel, or wire rope. Flags must be provided on wire rope to increase visibility Must have top rail, mid rail, posts and toe board System must be strong enough to support 200 pounds of force applied to the top rail Steel or plastic bands are not acceptable

18 Guardrails-Design Criteria 1926.502(b)
The top rail must be elevated above the surface inches and must be free of jagged edges. The mid rail must be located between the top rail and the walking surface. Posts must be spaced no greater than 8 feet. Toe boards must be made of a solid material with no openings greater than one inch and be 3.5 inches high. Chains or movable rails must be used near hoists.

19 Safety Net Systems (c) Placed beneath the working surface (not to exceed 30 feet) to catch personnel or falling material. Must be placed as close to the hazard as possible. Equipment must be drop tested and certified. Must be inspected weekly and after impact. Openings can not exceed six inches. Defective equipment can not be used. Safety nets must extend outward from the outer most projection of the work surfaces.

20 PFAS (d) PFAS shall not be tied to a guardrail system or hoists All components of a fall arrest system must be inspected before each use and after impact. Action must be taken promptly to rescue fallen employees.

21 PFAS 1926.502(d) When stopping a fall, a PFAS must:
Limit the arresting force to 1800 pounds. Be rigid so that an employee can not fall more than 6 feet of contact a lower level. Bring an employee to a complete stop and limit maximum deceleration distance an employee travels to 3.5 feet. Strength to withstand 2X potential impact of employee falling 6 ft. or permitted fall distance.

22 Inspecting Equipment 1926.502(d)
Equipment must be inspected before each use for: Degradation due to ultraviolet light Any other condition that is not normal The following items must be inspected: Tears or other wear Deformed eyelets, D rings or other parts Labels/placards Dirt, grease, and oil

23 PFAS (Harness) (d) Harness systems consist of either nylon or polyester and the best system will encompass the entire body (full body harness). Body belts can not be used for fall protection. A full body harness will evenly distribute weight across the waist, pelvis, and thighs.

24 PFAS (Lanyard) (d) Lanyards connect the harness to the anchorage point. Must have a minimum breaking strength of 5000 pounds. Should be attached to a D ring between the shoulder blades above the employee. There are several types of lanyards that include: synthetic webbing, synthetic rope and shock absorbing.

25 Types of Lanyards Self retracting Shock absorbing Synthetic rope
Eliminates excess slack in the lanyard (cable, rope, or web) Shock absorbing Device slows and eventually stops decent and absorbs the forces (i.e.: rip stitch controlled tearing) Synthetic rope Absorbs some of the force by stretching Synthetic webbing Strong but not flexible (absorbs little force)

26 PFAS (life Lines) (d) Life lines consist of flexible material connected at one or both ends to an anchorage point. There are two types of life lines: Vertical:hangs vertically (5000 pound minimum breaking strength) Horizontal: connects at both points to stretch horizontally (serves as connection point for other components of PFAS-total system must have safety factor of two).

27 PFAS (Snap hooks) (d) Used to connect lanyards to D rings on a body harness. D rings must be compatible. Must be connected to harness or anchorage point only. Snap hooks must have 5,000 tensile strength and be proof tested to 3600 pounds. When using snap hooks: Use only one snap hook per D ring to prevent rollout All snap hooks must have a locking mechanism

28 PFAS (Anchorage Points) 1926.502(d)
The anchorage point is most effective when it is above the employee’s head. Located as to not allow an employee fall more than 6 feet. All anchorage points must be a solid immovable object that is capable of supporting 5000 pounds. Must not be used to support anything else.

29 Positioning Device Systems 1926.502(e)
Allows employee to be supported from a vertical surface (i.e.: wall or telephone pole). Must be inspected before each use for defects. Must be rigid for no more than a 2 foot free fall. Not a fall arrest system! The anchorage point must be capable of withstanding twice the potential impact of an employee’s fall or 3000 pounds, whichever is greater.

30 Warning Line System 1926.502(f)
Rope, wire, or chains are used to warn employees of an unprotected edge. Used mainly on roofs , where PFAS- impractical. Established not less than six feet from the edge. Materials must have sufficient strength and complete structure must withstand 16 pound tipping force.

31 Controlled Access Zones (CAZ) 1926.502(g)
Only qualified personnel involved in the operation are allowed to enter the zone. Ropes, wires, or chains are used to designate the area. Must be erected not less than six feet nor more than twenty five feet away from edge. Shall be connected on each side to wall.

32 Controlled Access Zones (CAZ) 1926.502(g)
CAZ must be defined by a control line (strength of 200 pounds) erected feet from the edge Lines must be flagged at six foot intervals.

33 Safety Monitoring System 1926.502(h)
Uses a monitor (competent person) to patrol the area and warn employees of the dangers. All safety monitors must comply with the following criteria: Be on the same level the work is being performed Be close enough to orally communicate Have no other assigned duties

34 Safety Monitoring System 1926.502(h)
Employees must comply with all instructions from the monitor. The full attention of the monitor must focus on protecting the employees. It is recommended that you have a written plan for using the safety monitoring system to address: Identification of the monitor Roles of employees in a monitoring system Training for using the monitoring system.

35 Covers (i) Used to protect personnel from falling through holes in walking surfaces. Covers must be secured in place and the word “Hole” must be written on the cover. Covers must have sufficient strength to support: Twice the weight to be imposed upon it for pedestrians Twice the largest axle weight of vehicle traffic

36 Falling Objects (j) Employers are required to protect their employees from falling objects. Some methods that might have to be used (when necessary) consist of: Installation of toe boards (at least 3.5 inches wide) Building barricade and restricting entrance Installation of screens

37 Fall Protection Plan 1926.502(k)
Fall protection plans are allowed for the following operations: Residential construction Leading edge construction Precast concrete erection The plan should be strictly enforced. The employer must demonstrate that it is impractical to use fall protection before a fall protection plan can be used as an alternative.

38 Fall Protection Plan 1926.502(k)
Plan must be developed by qualified person and made specific for each site (also must be up to date). Only as qualified person can make changes to a plan. A copy of the plan must be maintained at the site.

39 Elements of a Fall Protection Plan
Statement of Policy Fall Protection Systems to be Used Implementation of Plan Enforcement Accident Investigation Changes to the Plan

40 Training All employees exposed to fall hazards must receive training by a competent person that addresses: The nature of fall hazards in the work area Procedures for erecting, maintaining, disassembling and inspecting fall arrest equipment Use and operation of fall arrest equipment

41 Training 1926.503 Training elements:
Role of employee in a safety monitoring system (when used) Limitations on the use of mechanical equipment for low slope roofs Role of employees in fall protection plans Standards contained in Procedure for handling and storage of equipment

42 Training Fall protection training must be certified by the employer through a written record. The latest training certificate must be maintained. Retraining is required when: There are changes in the work place Changes in the type of fall protection used There are inadequacies in employee’s skills

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