Section 1926.501 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations for Construction provides the fall protection requirements that employers within the construction industry must adhere to.
Employers are to ensure that all surfaces have the structural integrity to support employees who are walking or working on the surface. If the surface is deemed to not be suitable for these activities, employers are to restrict employee access.
Employers are also required to provide adequate fall protection systems for employees who perform work on surfaces with open sides and edges, sloping roofs, steep roofs, leading edges, and any surface that is six feet above or below level. The specific requirements for these fall protection systems are provided in OSHA 1926.502.
Required Fall Protection Systems Under OSHA 1926.502
OSHA 1926.502 requires all employers to provide and install all required fall protection systems before an employee may begin work that would necessitate the fall protection.
Provided below are brief descriptions of some of the required fall protection systems outlined in OSHA 1926.502.
Guard Rail, Safety Net, and Personal Fall Arrest Systems – When employees are exposed to vertical drops of six feet or more, OSHA requires employers to implement one of these fall protection systems prior to the initiation of work.
Positioning Device Systems – Positioning device systems are personal safety devices that can be used to prevent an employee from falling.
Warning Line Systems – Warning-line systems are designed to be used as a means of fall protection for employees who are engaged in roofing activities on low-slope roofs with unprotected sides and edges of 6 feet or more above ground level. Warning-line systems may be used in conjunction with a guardrail system, a safety net system, a personal fall-arrest system, or a safety-monitoring system.
Controlled Access Zones – Controlled access zones are used to restrict employee access to specific areas of a job site where certain types of work may be performed without conventional fall protection systems.
Safety Monitoring Systems – A safety monitoring system is a fall protection system that may be used in conjunction with a warning line system on low-slope roofing work. This system entrusts a selected individual with the task of ensuring safety and compliance among other employees under their supervision.
Covers – Covers are another fall protection system that prevents employees and other objects from falling into holes in floors, roofs, and other walking/working surfaces.
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.