According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls account for the greatest number of fatalities in construction work.
OSHA requires that your employer take steps to protect workers from fall hazards on a construction site.
Employers must assess the fall risk at a construction site
Employers must evaluate the job site to determine whether all working and walking surfaces can support workers. Based on this evaluation, your employer must then select and implement suitable fall protection systems.
If the job requires that you work at a level six feet or higher, your employer must provide fall protection. If your work activities take place at heights lower than six feet, you must have fall protection if you are working near dangerous substances or equipment.
Fall protection comes in different forms
Fall protection often includes guardrails, safety nets, warning line systems or a combination of safeguards.
Your employer may also provide you with a personal fall arrest system. This type of system must include a body harness you wear on or across your body to distribute fall arrest forces. This system also includes anchorages that provide a secure point for attaching components such as lanyards or lifelines.
Your worksite may also include a controlled access zone. This is an area where specific types of work may take place without a fall prevention system. This zone must have restricted access so that only workers doing the work designated for the zone can enter.
Employers may have the option to adopt a fall protection plan if they believe conventional systems may not be practical or may actually increase the risk of falls.