OSHA And Fall Safety

Massachusetts Lawyers Specializing In OSHA And Fall Safety Regulations

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates many areas of the work place industry due to the inherent dangers. One area that is strictly regulated by OSHA is fall safety. OSHA requires employers, premise owners, subcontractors and general contractors to provide certain safety measures at certain heights, depending on the type of industry they operate in.

Why Is Fall Safety So Regulated By OSHA

The answer is clear. Falls are one of the leading causes of death and serious injury in the work place, as reported by the United States Department of Labor. In fact, 8 percent of workplace fatalities are caused by falls.

OSHA Standards Application

OSHA sets general fall safety standards that apply to all employers, but also has a set of separate standards for the construction and maritime industries. The safety standards are very detailed, but the general rules are: Employers must offer fall protection such as railings or a fall arrest system from different heights, depending on which particular industry the fall safety standards are being applied to. In the general workplace industry, the fall safety standards require railings or a fall arrest system for heights over 4 feet. In construction industries, the height is 6 feet and in maritime industries, the height is 5 feet.

New OSHA fall safety regulations also require safety protection against falls where work must be done above dangerous machinery or equipment, (even if a hypothetical fall would below the heights of 4, 5 and 6 feet as listed above). In falls below 4, 5 or 6 feet as applied above, warning sign and/or yellow caution tape or colored barricade tape, safety regulations may apply.

Safety Systems Prevent Falls From Heights

The fall safety general requirements include:

  • Placing railings around stairways and ladder ways.
  • Hatchway or chute openings must have either a removable railing system or must be sealed by a hinged cover.
  • Working platforms must be safely accessible with proper fall safety protection measures.
  • If fall arrest systems are utilized, they must be 1) installed by qualified personnel and 2) employees using them must be trained in their use to ensure they will be used correctly. Even when fall systems are not required by law, if they are provided by an employer, all fall system safety standards must be met. Using the fall system incorrectly could in and of itself be dangerous.
  • Safety nets per OSHA guidelines.
  • Staging per OSHA guidelines.

Types Of Fall Safety Prevention

OSHA regulations require several different types of fall prevention depending on the industry and the factual scenarios. Certain surfaces that are used on ladders or steps must be guarded by railings to prevent accidental slip and falls. OSHA requires protective guard covers over holes in walls and in floors. Other fall protection measures consist of staging, safety nets, lifelines, safety belts and safety harnesses.

Construction Industry Utilize Personal Fall Arrest Systems For Safety

OSHA has special requirements for the construction industry's use of personal fall arrest systems. Employers are required to provide safety belts or lifelines if the work area is above the required height, and the use of safety guardrails is not practical. Personal fall arrest systems, such as lifelines or safety harnesses with a lanyard attached to the structure, must be provided by the employer, if the employees are working around or near uncovered holes in the floor that are more than 6 feet above the lower level. If fall arrest systems are not provided, guardrails must be provided at heights above 6 feet.

Ellis Law Offices, located in Worcester, Massachusetts and other surrounding cities, has been representing injured workers and employees for over 50 years. Ellis Law Offices' team of lawyers is a specialist in third-party negligence law and workers' compensation law. When a premises owner, general contractor, subcontractor, project manager or architectural firm job manager violates OSHA fall safety regulations, which result in serious injury or death, we hold all accountable parties liable. These are complex and expensive cases to bring, and you need to choose a law firm that not only has the resources to develop the case, but the experience and staff to handle the case from its inception to a jury trial (if necessary). Please call Ellis Law Offices today, if you have any questions or would like a free consultation. You may also contact us by email or telephone. For your convenience, home and hospital visits are available throughout Massachusetts.