Visit the Ocupational Safety & Health Administration website.
From U.S. Department of Labor Office of Public Affairs:
Precautions and Quick Action Could Save Lives In Hot Summer Weather
OSHA's Heat Stress Card Offers Tips for Employers & Workers
Working in hot environments can be dangerous, but taking simple precautions can prevent many heat-related deaths and injuries. Workers in industries such as laundries, foundries, bakeries and construction projects, face conditions that make them especially vulnerable to safety and health hazards. Higher summer temperatures increase those risks.
The combination of heat, humidity and physical labor can lead to fatalities. In 2000, 21 workers died and 2,554 others experienced heat-related occupational injuries and illnesses serious enough to miss work. Additional illnesses may be under-reported if workers and employers are not familiar with the warning signs.
"We want to help employers and workers learn how to reduce illnesses and fatalities related to heat," said John Henshaw, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "Education and training can save lives."
The two most serious forms of heat related illnesses are heat exhaustion (primarily from dehydration) and heat stroke, which could be fatal. Signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke need immediate attention. Recognizing those signs -- dizziness, nausea, weakness, dry, pale skin or hot red skin, seizures, mood changes -- and taking quick action, can make a difference in preventing a fatality.
OSHA's Heat Stress Card lists tips and precautions that can prevent many heat-related deaths and injuries. Available in English and Spanish, this laminated fold-up card is free to employers to distribute to their workers. It offers a quick reference about heat-related injuries, including warning signs, symptoms and early treatment:
How to Protect Workers
OSHA's Heat Stress Card in English or Spanish is available on OSHA's website. For copies of the laminated card, available without charge, call OSHA Publications (202) 693-1888 or write to: U.S. Department of Labor/OSHA, OSHA Publications, P.O. Box 37535 Washington, D.C. 20013-7535.
More information about heat and sun hazards can be found on OSHA's website and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) www.cdc.gov and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) www.cdc.gov/niosh
Visit the Ocupational Safety & Health Administration website.
from Personal Protective Equipment
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OSHA 3077, 1998 (Revised)
According to the BLS survey, most of the workers in selected occupations who suffered foot injuries were not wearing protective footwear. Furthermore, most of their employers did not require them to wear safety shoes. The typical foot injury was caused by objects falling fewer than 4 feet and the median weight was about 65 pounds [4, p.1]. Again, most workers were injured while performing their normal job activities at their worksites.
For protection of feet and legs from falling or rolling objects, sharp objects, molten metal, hot surfaces, and wet slippery surfaces, workers should use appropriate footguards, safety shoes, or boots and leggings. Leggings protect the lower leg and feet from molten metal or welding sparks. Safety snaps permit their rapid removal.
Aluminum alloy, fiberglass, or galvanized steel footguards can be worn over usual work shoes, although they may present the possibility of catching on something and causing workers to trip. Heat-resistant soled shoes protect against hot surfaces like those found in the roofing, paving, and hot metal industries.
Safety shoes should be sturdy and have an impact-resistant toe. In some shoes, metal insoles protect against puncture wounds. Additional protection, such as metatarsal guards, may be found in some types of footwear. Safety shoes come in a variety of styles and materials, such as leather and rubber boots and oxfords.
Safety footwear is classified according to its ability to meet minimum requirements for both compression and impact tests. These requirements and testing procedures may be found in American National Standards Institute standards. Protective footwear purchased prior to July 5, 1994, must comply with ANSI Z41.1-1967, USA Standard for Men's Saftey-Toe Foot-wear. Protective footwear purchased after July 5, 1994, must comply with ANSI Z41-1991. America National Standard for Personal Protection-Protective Footwear.
from U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Fact Sheet No. OSHA 93-03
Every day an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur in American workplaces. The financial cost of these injuries is enormous -- more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and workers compensation. No dollar figure can adequately reflect the personal toll these accidents take on the injured workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the 25 states and territories operating their own job safety and health programs are determined to help reduce eye injuries. In concert with efforts by concerned voluntary groups, OSHA has begun a nationwide information campaign to improve workplace eye protection.
Take a moment to think about possible eye hazards at your workplace. A 1980 survey by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of about 1,000 minor eye injuries reveals how and why many on-the-job accidents occur.
-- Not wearing eye protection. BLS reports that nearly three out of every five workers injured were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident.
-- Wearing the wrong kind of eye protection for the job. About 40% of the injured workers were wearing some form of eye protection when the accident occurred. These workers were most likely to be wearing protective eyeglasses with no side shields, though injuries among employees wearing full-cup or flat-fold side shields occurred, as well.
-- Flying particles. BLS found that almost 70% of the accidents studied resulted from flying or falling objects or sparks striking the eye. Injured workers estimated that nearly three-fifths of the objects were smaller than a pin head. Most of the particles were said to be traveling faster than a hand-thrown object when the accident occurred.
-- Contact with chemicals caused one-fifth of the injuries. Other accidents were caused by objects swinging from a fixed or attached position, like tree limbs, ropes, chains, or tools which were pulled into the eye while the worker was using them.
-- Craft work; industrial equipment operation. Potential eye hazards can be found in nearly every industry, but BLS reported that more than 40% of injuries occurred among craft workers, like mechanics, repairers, carpenters, and plumbers. Over a third of the injured workers were operatives, such as assemblers, sanders, and grinding machine operators. Laborers suffered about one-fifth of the eye injuries. Almost half the injured workers were employed in manufacturing; slightly more than 20% were in construction.
-- Always wear effective eye protection. OSHA standards require that employers provide workers with suitable eye protection. To be effective, the eyewear must be of the appropriate type for the hazard encountered and properly fitted. For example, the BLS survey showed that 94% of the injuries to workers wearing eye protection resulted from objects or chemicals going around or under the protector. Eye protective devices should allow for air to circulate between the eye and the lens. Only 13 workers injured while wearing eye protection reported breakage.
Nearly one-fifth of the injured workers with eye protection wore face shields or welding helmets. However, only six percent of the workers injured while wearing eye protection wore goggles, which generally offer better protection for the eyes. Best protection is afforded when goggles are worn with face shields.
Better training and education. BLS reported that most workers were hurt while doing their regular jobs. Workers injured while not wearing protective eyewear most often said they believed it was not required by the situation. Even though the vast majority of employers furnished eye protection at no cost to employees, about 40% of the workers received no information on where and what kind of eyewear should be used.
-- Maintenance. Eye protection devices must be properly maintained. Scratched and dirty devices reduce vision, cause glare and may contribute to accidents.
-- Your nearest OSHA area office. Safety and health experts are available to explain mandatory requirements for effective eye protection and answer questions. They can also refer you to an on-site consultation service available in nearly every state through which you can get free, penalty-free advice for eliminating possible eye hazards, designing a training program, or other safety and health matters.
Don't know where the nearest federal or state office is? Call an OSHA Regional Office at the U.S. Department of Labor in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Denver, San Francisco, or Seattle.
-- The National Society to Prevent Blindness. This voluntary health organization is dedicated to preserving sight and has developed excellent information and training materials for preventing eye injuries at work. Its 26 affiliates nationwide may also provide consultation in developing effective eye safety programs. For more information and a publications catalog, write Prevent Blindness America, 500 E. Remington Road, Shaumburg, IL 60173, 800-331-2020. www.preventblindness.org. Email address of Sender...LCameron@PreventBlindness.org. Sender Name...Laura Cameron. Sender Alternate Contact Information...Phone: 800-331-2020. Sender Company Information...Prevent Blindness America.
BLS reported that more than 50% of workers injured while wearing eye protection thought the eyewear had minimized their injuries. But nearly half the workers also felt that another type of protection could have better prevented or reduced the injuries they suffered.
It is estimated that 90% of eye injuries can be prevented through the use of proper protective eyewear. That is our goal and, by working together, OSHA, employers, workers, and health organizations can make it happen.
This is one of a series of fact sheets highlighting U.S. Department of Labor programs. It is intended as a general description only and does not carry the force of legal opinion. This information will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 219-8151. TDD message referral phone: 1-800-326-2577.
from Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR)
Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR) - Table of Contents
Equipment selection. Welding equipment shall be chosen for safe application to the work to be done as specified in paragraph (b) of this section.
Installation. Welding equipment shall be installed safely as specified by paragraph (c) of this section.
Instruction. Workmen designated to operate arc welding equipment shall have been properly instructed and qualified to operate such equipment as specified in paragraph (d) of this section.
Application of arc welding equipment -
General. Assurance of consideration of safety in design is obtainable by choosing apparatus complying with the Requirements for Electric Arc-Welding Apparatus, NEMA EW-1-1962, National Electrical Manufacturers Association or the Safety Standard for Transformer-Type Arc-Welding Machines, ANSI C33.2-1956, Underwriters' Laboratories, both of which are incorporated by reference as specified in Sec. 1910.6.
Standard machines for arc welding service shall be designed and constructed to carry their rated load with rated temperature rises where the temperature of the cooling air does not exceed 40 deg. C. (104 deg. F.) and where the altitude does not exceed 3,300 feet (1,005.8 m), and shall be suitable for operation in atmospheres containing gases, dust, and light rays produced by the welding arc.
Unusual service conditions may exist, and in such circumstances machines shall be especially designed to safely meet the requirements of the service. Chief among these conditions are:
Exposure to unusually corrosive fumes.
Exposure to steam or excessive humidity.
Exposure to excessive oil vapor.
Exposure to flammable gases.
Exposure to abnormal vibration or shock.
Exposure to excessive dust.
Exposure to weather.
Exposure to unusual seacoast or shipboard conditions.
Voltage. The following limits shall not be exceeded:
Manual arc welding and cutting - 80 volts.
Automatic (machine or mechanized) arc welding and cutting - 100 volts.
Manual arc welding and cutting - 100 volts.
When special welding and cutting processes require values of open circuit voltages higher than the above, means shall be provided to prevent the operator from making accidental contact with the high voltage by adequate insulation or other means.
For a.c. welding under wet conditions or warm surroundings where perspiration is a factor, the use of reliable automatic controls for reducing no load voltage is recommended to reduce the shock hazard.
A controller integrally mounted in an electric motor driven welder shall have capacity for carrying rated motor current, shall be capable of making and interrupting stalled rotor current of the motor, and may serve as the running overcurrent device if provided with the number of overcurrent units as specified by Subpart S of this part.
On all types of arc welding machines, control apparatus shall be enclosed except for the operating wheels, levers, or handles.
Input power terminals, tap change devices and live metal parts connected to input circuits shall be completely enclosed and accessible only by means of tools.
Terminals for welding leads should be protected from accidental electrical contact by personnel or by metal objects i.e., vehicles, crane hooks, etc. Protection may be obtained by use of: Dead-front receptacles for plug connections; recessed openings with nonremovable hinged covers; heavy insulating sleeving or taping or other equivalent electrical and mechanical protection. If a welding lead terminal which is intended to be used exclusively for connection to the work is connected to the grounded enclosure, it must be done by a conductor at least two AWG sizes smaller than the grounding conductor and the terminal shall be marked to indicate that it is grounded.
No connections for portable control devices such as push buttons to be carried by the operator shall be connected to an a.c. circuit of higher than 120 volts. Exposed metal parts of portable control devices operating on circuits above 50 volts shall be grounded by a grounding conductor in the control cable.
Auto transformers or a.c. reactors shall not be used to draw welding current directly from any a.c. power source having a voltage exceeding 80 volts.
Installation of arc welding equipment -
General. Installation including power supply shall be in accordance with the requirements of Subpart S of this part.
The frame or case of the welding machine (except engine-driven machines shall be grounded under the conditions and according to the methods prescribed in Subpart S of this part.
Conduits containing electrical conductors shall not be used for completing a work-lead circuit. Pipelines shall not be used as a permanent part of a work-lead circuit, but may be used during construction, extension or repair providing current is not carried through threaded joints, flanged bolted joints, or caulked joints and that special precautions are used to avoid sparking at connection of the work-lead cable.
Chains, wire ropes, cranes, hoists, and elevators shall not be used to carry welding current.
Where a structure, conveyor, or fixture is regularly employed as a welding current return circuit, joints shall be bonded or provided with adequate current collecting devices.
All ground connections shall be checked to determine that they are mechanically strong and electrically adequate for the required current.
Supply connections and conductors.
A disconnecting switch or controller shall be provided at or near each welding machine which is not equipped with such a switch or controller mounted as an integral part of the machine. The switch shall be in accordance with Subpart S of this part. Overcurrent protection shall be provided as specified in Subpart S of this part. A disconnect switch with overload protection or equivalent disconnect and protection means, permitted by Subpart S of this part, shall be provided for each outlet intended for connection to a portable welding machine.
For individual welding machines, the rated current-carrying capacity of the supply conductors shall be not less than the rated primary current of the welding machines.
For groups of welding machines, the rated current-carrying capacity of conductors may be less than the sum of the rated primary currents of the welding machines supplied. The conductor rating shall be determined in each case according to the machine loading based on the use to be made of each welding machine and the allowance permissible in the event that all the welding machines supplied by the conductors will not be in use at the same time.
In operations involving several welders on one structure, d.c. welding process requirements may require the use of both polarities; or supply circuit limitations for a.c. welding may require distribution of machines among the phases of the supply circuit. In such cases no load voltages between electrode holders will be 2 times normal in d.c. or 1, 1.41, 1.73, or 2 times normal on a.c. machines. Similar voltage differences will exist if both a.c. and d.c. welding are done on the same structure.
All d.c. machines shall be connected with the same polarity.
All a.c. machines shall be connected to the same phase of the supply circuit and with the same instantaneous polarity.
Operation and maintenance -
General. Workmen assigned to operate or maintain arc welding equipment shall be acquainted with the requirements of this section and with 1910.252 (a), (b), and (c) of this part; if doing gas-shielded arc welding, also Recommended Safe Practices for Gas-Shielded Arc Welding, A6.1-1966, American Welding Society, which is incorporated by reference as specified in Sec. 1910.6.
Machine hook up. Before starting operations all connections to the machine shall be checked to make certain they are properly made. The work lead shall be firmly attached to the work; magnetic work clamps shall be freed from adherent metal particles of spatter on contact surfaces. Coiled welding cable shall be spread out before use to avoid serious overheating and damage to insulation.
Grounding. Grounding of the welding machine frame shall be checked. Special attention shall be given to safety ground connections of portable machines.
Leaks. There shall be no leaks of cooling water, shielding gas or engine fuel.
Switches. It shall be determined that proper switching equipment for shutting down the machine is provided.
Manufacturers' instructions. Printed rules and instructions covering operation of equipment supplied by the manufacturers shall be strictly followed.
Electrode holders. Electrode holders when not in use shall be so placed that they cannot make electrical contact with persons, conducting objects, fuel or compressed gas tanks.
Electric shock. Cables with splices within 10 feet (3 m) of the holder shall not be used. The welder should not coil or loop welding electrode cable around parts of his body.
The operator should report any equipment defect or safety hazard to his supervisor and the use of the equipment shall be discontinued until its safety has been assured. Repairs shall be made only by qualified personnel.
Machines which have become wet shall be thoroughly dried and tested before being used.
Cables with damaged insulation or exposed bare conductors shall be replaced. Joining lengths of work and electrode cables shall be done by the use of connecting means specifically intended for the purpose. The connecting means shall have insulation adequate for the service conditions.
from Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Logging Advisor
Requirements for hearing protection are found in 1910.95. Particular attention should be paid to monitoring the logging operation to determine the noise levels employees are exposed to. This will determine whether the employer is required to implement a hearing conservation program. Some basic elements of a hearing conservation plan are providing audiograms, training employees, and providing hearing protection in a variety of forms at no cost to the employee.
from Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR)
Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR) - Table of Contents
Unless otherwise provided in this section, aerial lifts acquired for use on or after January 22, 1973 shall be designed and constructed in conformance with the applicable requirements of the American National Standards for "Vehicle Mounted Elevating and Rotating Work Platforms," ANSI A92.2-1969, including appendix. Aerial lifts acquired before January 22, 1973 which do not meet the requirements of ANSI A92.2-1969, may not be used after January 1, 1976, unless they shall have been modified so as to conform with the applicable design and construction requirements of ANSI A92.2-1969. Aerial lifts include the following types of vehicle-mounted aerial devices used to elevate personnel to job-sites above ground:
Extensible boom platforms;
Articulating boom platforms;
Vertical towers; and
A combination of any such devices. Aerial equipment may be made of metal, wood, fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP), or other material; may be powered or manually operated; and are deemed to be aerial lifts whether or not they are capable of rotating about a substantially vertical axis.
Aerial lifts may be "field modified" for uses other than those intended by the manufacturer provided the modification has been certified in writing by the manufacturer or by any other equivalent entity, such as a nationally recognized testing laboratory, to be in conformity with all applicable provisions of ANSI A92.2-1969 and this section and to be at least as safe as the equipment was before modification.
Ladder trucks and tower trucks. Aerial ladders shall be secured in the lower traveling position by the locking device on top of the truck cab, and the manually operated device at the base of the ladder before the truck is moved for highway travel.
Extensible and articulating boom platforms.
Lift controls shall be tested each day prior to use to determine that such controls are in safe working condition.
Only authorized persons shall operate an aerial lift.
Belting off to an adjacent pole, structure, or equipment while working from an aerial lift shall not be permitted.
Employees shall always stand firmly on the floor of the basket, and shall not sit or climb on the edge of the basket or use planks, ladders, or other devices for a work position.
A body belt shall be worn and a lanyard attached to the boom or basket when working from an aerial lift.
Note to paragraph (b)(2)(v): As of January 1, 1998, subpart M of this part (1926.502(d)) provides that body belts are not acceptable as part of a personal fall arrest system. The use of a body belt in a tethering system or in a restraint system is acceptable and is regulated under 1926.502(e).
Boom and basket load limits specified by the manufacturer shall not be exceeded.
The brakes shall be set and when outriggers are used, they shall be positioned on pads or a solid surface. Wheel chocks shall be installed before using an aerial lift on an incline, provided they can be safely installed.
An aerial lift truck shall not be moved when the boom is elevated in a working position with men in the basket, except for equipment which is specifically designed for this type of operation in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section.
Articulating boom and extensible boom platforms, primarily designed as personnel carriers, shall have both platform (upper) and lower controls. Upper controls shall be in or beside the platform within easy reach of the operator. Lower controls shall provide for overriding the upper controls. Controls shall be plainly marked as to their function. Lower level controls shall not be operated unless permission has been obtained from the employee in the lift, except in case of emergency.
Climbers shall not be worn while performing work from an aerial lift.
The insulated portion of an aerial lift shall not be altered in any manner that might reduce its insulating value.
Before moving an aerial lift for travel, the boom(s) shall be inspected to see that it is properly cradled and outriggers are in stowed position except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(viii) of this section.
Electrical tests. All electrical tests shall conform to the requirements of ANSI A92.2-1969 section 5. However equivalent d.c.; voltage tests may be used in lieu of the a.c. voltage specified in A92.2-1969; d.c. voltage tests which are approved by the equipment manufacturer or equivalent entity shall be considered an equivalent test for the purpose of this paragraph (b)(3).
Bursting safety factor. The provisions of the American National Standards Institute standard ANSI A92.2-1969, section 4.9 Bursting Safety Factor shall apply to all critical hydraulic and pneumatic components. Critical components are those in which a failure would result in a free fall or free rotation of the boom. All noncritical components shall have a bursting safety factor of at least 2 to 1.
Welding standards. All welding shall conform to the following standards as applicable:
Standard Qualification Procedure, AWS B3.0-41.
Recommended Practices for Automotive Welding Design, AWS D8.4-61.
Standard Qualification of Welding Procedures and Welders for Piping and Tubing, AWS D10.9-69.
Specifications for Welding Highway and Railway Bridges, AWS D2.0-69.
Note to 1926.453: Non-mandatory Appendix C to this subpart lists examples of national consensus standards that are considered to provide employee protection equivalent to that provided through the application of ANSI A92.2-1969, where appropriate. This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies may be obtained from the American National Standards Institute. Copies may be inspected at the Docket Office, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., room N2634, Washington, DC or at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., suite 700, Washington, DC.
[58 FR 35182, June 30, 1993; 61 FR 46025, Aug. 30, 1996; 61 FR 59831, Nov. 25, 1996]
from OSHA's Construction Safety and Health Outreach Program
In the construction industry in the U.S., falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities. Each year, on average, between 150 and 200 workers are killed and more than 100,000 are injured as a result of falls at construction sites. OSHA recognizes that accidents involving falls are generally complex events frequently involving a variety of factors. Consequently the standard for fall protection deals with both the human and equipment-related issues in protecting workers from fall hazards. For example, employers and employees need to do the following:
SCOPE AND APPLICATION
OSHA has revised its construction industry safety standards (29 Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart M, Fall Protection, 1926.500, 1926.501, 1926.502, and 1926.503) and developed systems and procedures designed to prevent employees from falling off, onto, or through working levels and to protect employees from being struck by falling objects (Federal Register, August 9, 1994, pp. 40672-40753). The performance-oriented requirements make it easier for employers to provide the necessary protection.
The rule covers most construction workers except those inspecting, investigating, or assessing workplace conditions prior to the actual start of work or after all work has been completed.
The rule identifies areas or activities where fall protection is needed. These include, but are not limited to, ramps, runways, and other walkways; excavations; hoist areas; holes; formwork and reinforcing steel; leading edge work; unprotected sides and edges; overhand bricklaying and related work; roofing work; precast concrete erection; wall openings; residential construction; and other walking/working surfaces. The rule sets a uniform threshold height of 6 feet (1.8 meters), thereby providing consistent protection. This means that construction employers must protect their employees from fall hazards and falling objects whenever an affected employee is 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more above a lower level. Protection must also be provided for construction workers who are exposed to the hazard of falling into dangerous equipment.
Under the new standard, employers will be able to select fall protection measures compatible with the type of work being performed. Fall protection generally can be provided through the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, positioning device systems, and warning line systems, among others.
The OSHA rule clarifies what an employer must do to provide fall protection for employees, such as identifying and evaluating fall hazards and providing specific training. Requirements to provide fall protection for workers on scaffolds and ladders and for workers engaged in steel erection of buildings arc covered in other subparts of OSHA regulations.
PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARD
The new standard prescribes the duty to provide fall protection, sets the criteria and practices for fall protection systems, and requires training. It covers hazard assessment and fall protection and safety monitoring systems. Also addressed are controlled access zones, safety nets, and guardrail, personal fall arrest, warning line, and positioning device systems.
DUTY TO HAVE FALL PROTECTION
Employers are required to assess the workplace to determine if the walking/working surfaces on which employees are to work have the strength and structural integrity to safely support workers. Employees are not permitted to work on those surfaces until it has been determined that the surfaces have the requisite strength and structural integrity to support the workers. Once employers have determined that the surface is safe for employees to work on, the employer must select one of the options listed for the work operation if a fall hazard is present.
For example, if an employee is exposed to falling 6 feet (l .8 meters) or more from an unprotected side or edge, the employer must select either a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system to protect the worker. Similar requirements are prescribed for other fall hazards as follows.
Controlled Access Zones
A Controlled access zone is a work area designated and clearly marked in which certain types of work (such as overhand bricklaying) may take place without the use of conventional fall protection systems - guardrail, personal arrest or safety net - to protect the employees working in the zone.
Controlled access zones are used to keep out workers other than those authorized to enter work areas from which guardrails have been removed. Where there are no guardrails, masons are the only workers allowed in controlled access zones.
Controlled access zones, when created to limit entrance to areas where leading edge work and other operations are taking place, must be defined by a control line or by any other means that restrict access. Control lines shall consist of ropes, wires, tapes or equivalent materials, and supporting stanchions, and each must be:
When control lines are used, they shall be erected not less than 6 feet (1.8 meters) nor more than 25 feet (7.6 meters) from the unprotected or leading edge, except when precast concrete members are being erected. In the latter case, the control line is to be erected not less than 6 feet (1.8 meters) nor more than 60 feet (18 meters) or half the length of the member being erected, whichever is less, from the leading edge.
Controlled access zones when used to determine access to areas where overhand bricklaying and related work are taking place are to be defined by a control line erected not less than 10 feet (3 meters) nor more than 15 feet (4.6 meters) from the working edge. Additional control lines must be erected at each end to enclose the controlled access zone. Only employees engaged in overhand bricklaying or related work are permitted in the controlled access zones.
On floors and roofs where guardrail systems are not in place prior to the beginning of overhand bricklaying operations, controlled access zones will be enlarged as necessary to enclose all points of access, material handling areas, and storage areas. On floors and roofs where guardrail systems are in place, but need to be removed to allow overhand bricklaying work or leading edge work to take place, only that portion of the guardrail necessary to accomplish that day's work shall be removed.
Each employee at the edge of an excavation 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more deep shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, fences, barricades, or covers. Where walkways are provided to permit employees to cross over excavations, guardrails are required on the walkway if it is 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more above the excavation.
Formwork and Reinforcing Steel
For employees, while moving vertically and/or horizontally on the vertical face of rebar assemblies built in place, fall protection is not required when employees are moving. OSHA considers the multiple hand holds and foot holds on rebar assemblies as providing similar protection as that provided by a fixed ladder; consequently, no fall protection is necessary while moving point to point for heights below 24 feet (7.3 meters). An employee must be provided with fall protection when climbing or otherwise moving at a height more than 24 feet (7.3 meters), the same as for fixed ladders.
Each employee in a hoist area shall be protected from falling 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more by guardrail systems or personal fall arrest systems. If guardrail systems (or chain gate or guardrail) or portions thereof must be removed to facilitate hoisting operations, as during the landing of materials, and a worker must lean through the access opening or out over the edge of the access opening to receive or guide equipment and materials, that employee must be protected by a personal fall arrest system.
Personal fall arrest systems, covers, or guardrail systems shall be erected around holes (including skylights) that are more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) above lower levels.
Each employee who is constructing a leading edge 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more above lower levels shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. If the employer can demonstrate that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to implement these systems, he or she must develop and implement a fall protection plan that meets the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.502(k).
Overhand Bricklaying and Related Work
Each employee performing overhand bricklaying and related work 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more above lower levels shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems, or shall work in a controlled access zone. All employees reaching more than 10 inches (25 cm) below the level of a walking/working surface on which they are working shall be protected by a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system.
Precast Concrete Erection and Residential Construction
Each employee who is 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more above lower levels while erecting precast concrete members and related operations such as grouting of precast concrete members and each employee engaged in residential construction, shall be protected by guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. Where the employer can demonstrate, however, that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to use those systems, the employer must develop and implement a fall protection plan that meets the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.502(k).
Ramps, Runways, and Other Walkways
Each employee using ramps, runways, and other walkways shall be protected from falling 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more by guardrail systems.
Each employee engaged in roofing activities on low-slope roofs with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems or a combination of a warning line system and guardrail system, warning line system and safety net system, warning line system and personal fall arrest system, or warning line system and safety monitoring system. On roofs 50 feet (15.24 meters) or less in width, the use of a safety monitoring system without a warning line system is permitted.
Each employee on a steep roof with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more above lower levels shall be protected by guardrail systems with toeboards, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.
Each employee working on, at, above, or near wall openings (including those with chutes attached) where the outside bottom edge of the wall opening is 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more above lower levels and the inside bottom edge of the wall opening is less than 39 inches (1.0 meter) above the walking/working surface must be protected from falling by the use of a guardrail system, a safety net system, or a personal fall arrest system.
FALL PROTECTION SYSTEMS CRITERIA AND PRACTICES
If the employer chooses to use guardrail systems to protect workers from falls, the systems must meet the following criteria. Toprails and midrails of guardrail systems must be at least one-quarter inch (0.6 centimeters) nominal diameter or thickness to prevent cuts and lacerations. If wire rope is used for toprails, it must be flagged at not more 6 feet intervals (1.8 meters) with high-visibility material. Steel and plastic banding cannot be used as toprails or midrails. Manila, plastic, or synthetic rope used for toprails or midrails must be inspected as frequently as necessary to ensure strength and stability.
The top edge height of toprails, or (equivalent) guardrails must be 42 inches (1.1 meters) plus or minus 3 inches (8 centimeters), above the walking/working level. When workers are using stilts, the top edge height of the top rail, or equivalent member, must be increased an amount equal to the height of the stilts.
Screens, midrails, mesh, intermediate vertical members, or equivalent intermediate structural members must be installed between the top edge of the guardrail system and the walking/working surface when there are no walls or parapet walls at least 21 inches (53 centimeters) high. When midrails are used, they must be installed at a height midway between the top edge of the guardrail system and the walking/working level. When screens and mesh are used, they must extend from the top rail to the walking/working level and along the entire opening between top rail supports. Intermediate members, such as balusters, when used between posts, shall not be more than 19 inches (48 centimeters) apart.
Other structural members, such as additional midrails and architectural panels, shall be installed so that there are no openings in the guardrail system more than 19 inches (48 centimeters).
The guardrail system must be capable of withstanding a force of at least 200 pounds (890 newtons) applied within 2 inches of the top edge in any outward or downward direction. When the 200 pound (890 newtons) test is applied in a downward direction, the top edge of the guardrail must not deflect to a height less than 39 inches (1 meter) above the walking/working level.
Midrails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, solid panels, and equivalent structural members shall be capable of withstanding a force of at least 150 pounds (667 newtons) applied in any downward or outward direction at any point along the midrail or other member.
Guardrail systems shall be surfaced to protect workers from punctures or lacerations and to prevent clothing from snagging.
The ends of top rails and midrails must not overhang terminal posts, except where such overhang does not constitute a projection hazard.
When guardrail systems are used at hoisting areas, a chain, gate, or removable guardrail section must be placed across the access opening between guardrail sections when hoisting operations are not taking place.
At holes, guardrail systems must be set up on all unprotected sides or edges. When holes are used for the passage of materials, the hole shall have not more than two sides with removable guardrail sections. When the hole is not in use, it must be covered or provided with guardrails along all unprotected sides or edges.
If guardrail systems are used around holes that are used as access points (such as ladderways), gates must be used or the point of access must be offset to prevent accidental walking into the hole.
If guardrails are used at unprotected sides or edges of ramps and runways, they must be erected on each unprotected side or edge.
Personal Fall Arrest Systems
These consist of an anchorage, connectors, and a body belt or body harness and may include a deceleration device, lifeline, or suitable combinations. If a personal fall arrest system is used for fall protection, it must do the following:
As of January 1, 1998, the use of a body belt for fall arrest is prohibited.
Personal fall arrest systems must be inspected prior to each use for wear damage, and other deterioration. Defective components must be removed from service. Dee-rings and snaphooks must have a minimum tensile strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kilonewtons). Dee-rings and snaphooks shall be proof-tested to a minimum tensile load of 3,600 pounds (16 kilonewtons) without cracking, breaking, or suffering permanent deformation.
Snaphooks shall be sized to be compatible with the member to which they will be connected, or shall be of a locking configuration.
Unless the snaphook is a locking type and designed for the following connections, they shall not be engaged (a) directly to webbing, rope or wire rope; (b) to each other; (c) to a dee-ring to which another snaphook or other connecter is attached; (d) to a horizontal lifeline; or (e) to any object incompatible in shape or dimension relative to the snaphook, thereby causing the connected object to depress the snaphook keeper and release unintentionally.
OSHA considers a hook to be compatible when the diameter of the dee-ring to which the snaphook is attached is greater than the inside length of the snaphook when measured from the bottom (hinged end) of the snaphook keeper to the inside curve of the top of the snaphook. Thus, no matter how the dee-ring is positioned or moved (rolls) with the snaphook attached, the dee-ring cannot touch the outside of the keeper, thus depressing it open. As of January 1, 1998, the use of nonlocking snaphooks is prohibited.
On suspended scaffolds or similar work platforms with horizontal lifelines that may become vertical lifelines, the devices used to connect to a horizontal lifeline shall be capable of locking in both directions on the lifeline.
Horizontal lifelines shall be designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a qualified person, as part of a complete personal fall arrest system that maintains a safety factor of at least two. Lifelines shall be protected against being cut or abraded.
Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards that automatically limit free fall distance to 2 feet (0.6 l meters) or less shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 3,000 pounds (13.3 kilonewtons) applied to the device with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position.
Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards that do not limit free fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 meters) or less, ripstitch lanyards, and tearing and deforming lanyards shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kilonewtons) applied to the device with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position.
Ropes and straps (webbing) used in lanyards, lifelines, and strength components of body belts and body harnesses shall be made of synthetic fibers.
Anchorages shall be designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a qualified person, as part of a complete personal fall arrest system that maintains a safety factor of at least two, i.e., capable of supporting at least twice the weight expected to be imposed upon it. Anchorages used to attach personal fall arrest systems shall be independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms and must be capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kilonewtons) per person attached.
Lanyards and vertical lifelines must have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kilonewtons).
Positioning Device Systems
These body belt or body harness systems are to be set up so that a worker can free fall no farther than 2 feet (0.6 meters). They shall be secured to an anchorage capable of supporting at least twice the potential impact load of an employee's fall or 3,000 pounds (13.3 kilonewtons), whichever is greater. Requirements for snaphooks, dee-rings, and other connectors used with positioning device systems must meet the same criteria as those for personal fall arrest systems.
Safety Monitoring Systems
When no other alternative fall protection has been implemented, the employer shall implement a safety monitoring system. Employers must appoint a competent person to monitor the safety of workers and the employer shall ensure that the safety monitor:
Mechanical equipment shall not be used or stored in areas where safety monitoring systems are being used to monitor employees engaged in roofing operations on low-sloped roofs.
No worker, other than one engaged in roofing work (on low-sloped roofs) or one covered by a fall protection plan, shall be allowed in an area where an employee is being protected by a safety monitoring system.
All workers in a controlled access zone shall be instructed to promptly comply with fall hazard warnings issued by safety monitors.
Safety Net Systems
Safety nets must be installed as close as practicable under the walking/working surface on which employees are working and never more than 30 feet (9.1 meters) below such levels. Defective nets shall not be used. Safety nets shall be inspected at least once a week for wear, damage, and other deterioration. The maximum size of each safety net mesh opening shall not exceed 36 square inches (230 square centimeters) nor be longer than 6 inches (15 centimeters) on any side, and the openings, measured center-to-center, of mesh ropes or webbing, shall not exceed 6 inches (15 centimeters). All mesh crossings shall be secured to prevent enlargement of the mesh opening. Each safety net or section shall have a border rope for webbing with a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kilonewtons). Connections between safety net panels shall be as strong as integral net components and be spaced no more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) apart.
Safety nets shall be installed with sufficient clearance underneath to prevent contact with the surface or structure below.
When nets are used on bridges, the potential fall area from the walking/working surface to the net shall be unobstructed.
Safety nets must extend outward from the outermost projection of the work surface as follows:
Safety nets shall be capable of absorbing an impact force of a drop test consisting of a 400-pound (180 kilogram) bag of sand 30 inches (76 centimeters) in diameter dropped from the highest walking/working surface at which workers are exposed, but not from less than 42 inches (1.1 meters) above that level.
Items that have fallen into safety nets including - but not restricted to, materials, scrap, equipment, and tools - must be removed as soon as possible and at least before the next work shift.
Warning Line Systems
Warning line systems consist of ropes, wires, or chains, and supporting stanchions and are set up as follows:
Warning lines shall be erected around all sides of roof work areas. When mechanical equipment is being used, the warning line shall be erected not less than 6 feet (1.8 meters) from the roof edge parallel to the direction of mechanical equipment operation, and not less than 10 feet (3 meters) from the roof edge perpendicular to the direction of mechanical equipment operation.
When mechanical equipment is not being used, the warning line must be erected not less than 6 feet (1.8 meters) from the roof edge.
Covers located in roadways and vehicular aisles must be able to support at least twice the maximum axle load of the largest vehicle to which the cover might be subjected. All other covers must be able to support at least twice the weight of employees, equipment, and materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one time. To prevent accidental displacement resulting from wind, equipment, or workers' activities, all covers must be secured. All covers shall be color coded or bear the markings "HOLE" or "COVER."
PROTECTION FROM FALLING OBJECTS
When guardrail systems are used to prevent materials from falling from one level to another, any openings must be small enough to prevent passage of potential falling objects. No materials or equipment except masonry and mortar shall be stored within 4 feet (1.2 meters) of working edges. Excess mortar, broken or scattered masonry units, and all other materials and debris shall be kept clear of the working area by removal at regular intervals.
During roofing work, materials and equipment shall not be stored within 6 feet (1.8 meters) of a roof edge unless guardrails are erected at the edge, and materials piled, grouped, or stacked near a roof edge must be stable and self-supporting.
When used as protection from falling objects canopies must be strong enough to prevent collapse and to prevent penetration by any objects that may fall onto them.
When toeboards are used as protection from falling objects, they must be erected along the edges of the overhead walking/working surface for a distance sufficient to protect persons working below. Toeboards shall be capable of withstanding a force of at least 50 pounds (222 newtons) applied in any downward or outward direction at any point along the toeboard. Toeboards shall be a minimum of 3.5 inches (9 centimeters) tall from their top edge to the level of the walking/working surface, have no more than 0.25 inches (0.6 centimeters) clearance above the walking/working surface, and be solid or have openings no larger than l inch (2.5 centimeters) in size.
Where tools, equipment, or materials are piled higher than the top edge of a toeboard, panelling or screening must be erected from the walking/working surface or toeboard to the top of a guardrail system's top rail or midrail, for a distance sufficient to protect employees below.
Employers must provide a training program that teaches employees who might be exposed to fall hazards how to recognize such hazards and how to minimize them. Employees must be trained in the following areas: (a) the nature of fall hazards in the work area; (b) the correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, disassembling,
and inspecting fall protection systems; (c) the use and operation of controlled access zones and guardrail, personal fall arrest, safety net, warning line, and safety monitoring systems; (d) the role of each employee in the safety monitoring system when the system is in use; (e) the limitations on the use of mechanical equipment during the performance of roofing work on low-sloped roofs; (f) the correct procedures for equipment and materials handling and storage and the erection of overhead protection; and, (g) employees' role in fall protection plans.
Employers must prepare a written certification that identifies the employee trained and the date of the training. The employer or trainer must sign the certification record. Retraining also must be provided when necessary.
Anchorage - A secure point of attachment for lifelines, lanyards or deceleration devices.
Body belt - A strap with means both for securing it about the waist and for attaching it to a lanyard, lifeline, or deceleration device.
Body harness - -Straps that may be secured about the person in a manner that distributes the fall-arrest forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest, and shoulders with a means for attaching the harness to other components of a personal fall arrest system.
Connector - A device that is used to couple (connect) parts of a personal fall arrest system or positioning device system together.
Controlled access zone - A work area designated and clearly marked in which certain types of work (such as overhand bricklaying) may take place without the use of conventional fall protection systems - guardrail, personal arrest or safety net - to protect the employees working in the zone.
Deceleration device - Any mechanism - such as rope, grab, ripstitch lanyard, specially-woven lanyard, tearing or deforming lanyards, automatic self-retracting lifelines/lanyards - which serves to dissipate a substantial amount of energy during a fall arrest, or otherwise limits the energy imposed on an employee during fall arrest.
Deceleration distance - The additional vertical distance a falling person travels, excluding lifeline elongation and free fall distance, before stopping, from the point at which a deceleration device begins to operate.
Guardrail system - A barrier erected to prevent employees from falling to lower levels.
Hole - A void or gap 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) or more in the least dimension in a floor, roof, or other walking/working surface.
Lanyard - A flexible line of rope, wire rope, or strap that generally has a connector at each end for connecting the body belt or body harness to a deceleration device, lifeline, or anchorage.
Leading edge - The edge of a floor, roof, or formwork for a floor or other walking/working surface (such as the deck) which changes location as additional floor, roof, decking, or formwork sections are placed, formed or constructed.
Lifeline - A component consisting of a flexible line for connection to an anchorage at one end to hang vertically (vertical lifeline), or for connection to anchorages at both ends to stretch horizontally (horizontal lifeline) and that serves as a means for connecting other components of a personal fall arrest system to the anchorage.
Low-slope roof - A roof having a slope less than or equal to 4 in 12 (vertical to horizontal).
Opening - A gap or void 30 inches (76 centimeters) or more high and 18 inches (46 centimeters) or more wide, in a wall or partition, through which employees can fall to a lower level.
Personal fall arrest system - A system including but not limited to an anchorage, connectors, and a body belt or body harness used to arrest an employee in a fall from a working level. As of January 1, 1998, the use of a body belt for fall arrest is prohibited.
Positioning device system - A body belt or body harness system rigged to allow an employee to be supported on an elevated vertical surface, such as a wall, and work with both hands free while leaning backwards.
Rope grab - A deceleration device that travels on a lifeline and automatically, by friction, engages the lifeline and locks to arrest a fall.
Safety-monitoring system - A safety system in which a competent person is responsible for recognizing and warning employees of fall hazards.
Self-retracting lifeline/lanyard - A deceleration device containing a drum-wound line which can be slowly extracted from, or retracted onto, the drum under minimal tension during normal employee movement and which, after onset of a fall, automatically locks the drum and arrests the fall.
Snaphook - A connector consisting of a hook-shaped member with a normally closed keeper, or similar arrangement, which may be opened to permit the hook to receive an object and, when released automatically closes to retain the object.
Steep roof - A roof having a slope greater than 4 in 12 (vertical to horizontal).
Toeboard - A low protective barrier that prevents material and equipment from falling to lower levels and which protects personnel from falling.
Unprotected sides and edges - Any side or edge (except at entrances to points of access) of a walking/working surface (e.g. floor, roof, ramp, or runway) where there is no wall or guardrail system at least 39 inches (1 meter) high.
Walking/working surface - Any surface, whether horizontal or vertical, on which an employee walks or works, including but not limited to floors, roofs, ramps, bridges, runways, formwork, and concrete reinforcing steel. Does not include ladders, vehicles, or trailers on which employees must be located to perform their work duties.
Warning line system - A barrier erected on a roof to warn employees that they are approaching an unprotected roof side or edge and which designates an area in which roofing work may take place without the use of guardrail, body belt, or safety net systems to protect employees in the area.
from Occupational Safety and Health Administration Standard Interpretations
Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
August 14, 2000
Mr. Charles E. Hill
Chairman, National Telecommunications Safety Panel
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
Dear Mr. Hill:
This is in response to your letter of July 28, 1998, in which, representing the National Telecommunications Safety Panel and the dozen large companies it represents, you asked for interpretations regarding the telecommunications industry and the applicable Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) standards for fall protection in bucket trucks. You asked four questions regarding OSHA?s construction standards for scaffolds and fall protection as well as our general industry standards for powered platforms, manlifts, and vehicle-mounted work platforms. This letter responds only to the issues you raised regarding construction work. While we had hoped to be able to include answers in this letter to your general industry questions, OSHA is continuing to work with a number of industry groups on resolving those issues. Therefore, OSHA will address the general industry questions separately once that work is completed. We apologize for long time that this process has taken.
You ask us to describe the OSHA fall protection requirements for working from scissor lifts, aerial lifts and boom-type elevating work platforms. You also ask us to explain the difference between fall restraint systems, positioning systems, and fall arrest systems.
When Fall Protection On This Equipment Is Required in Construction Work
Aerial lifts/ boom-type platforms
Section 1926.453(b)(2)(v) of the Aerial Lift standard provides that workers in aerial lifts and boom-type platforms must be tied-off.
Workers on scissor lifts must either be tied-off or protected by guardrails. The Aerial Lift standard (§1926.453) applies to equipment covered in ANSI A92.2 (1969). Scissor lifts are not addressed in that ANSI standard; consequently, they are not covered by the Aerial Lift standard. Since they are a type of work platform, they are covered under the scaffold standard, §1926.451. Paragraph (g)(1)(vii) of §1926.451 requires that employees be protected by a personal fall arrest system or a guardrail system that meets the requirements of §1926.451(g)(4).
The options for tie-off are delineated below.
Restraint, Positioning and Fall Arrest Systems in Construction Work
A restraint system prevents a worker from being exposed to any fall. If the employee is protected by a restraint system, either a body belt or a harness may be used. When a restraint system is used for fall protection from an aerial lift or a boom-type elevating work platform, the employer must ensure that the lanyard and anchor are arranged so that the employee is not potentially exposed to falling any distance.
Positioning Devices: Construction Work
The only time a body belt may be used where there may be a fall is when an employee is using a “positioning device.” In §1926.500 of the construction standards for fall protection, a “positioning device system” is defined as a body belt or body harness system rigged to allow an employee to be supported on an elevated vertical surface, such as a wall (or a pole), and work with both hands free while leaning. Therefore, in construction work, a positioning device may be used only to protect a worker on a vertical work surface. These devices may permit a fall of up to 2 feet (0.6 m). They may be used in concrete form work, installation of reinforcing steel, and certain telecommunications work. Since construction workers in bucket trucks, scissor lifts and boom-type elevating work platforms are on a horizontal surface, a positioning device may not be used for those workers.
Fall Arrest Systems Used in Construction Work
A device that permits an arrested fall is considered a fall arrest system. In construction work a body harness must be used in these systems. A fall arrest system can only be used where the aerial lift or scaffold is designed to withstand the vertical and lateral loads caused by an arrested fall. Fall arrest systems used in construction must comply with §1926.502(d). That provision prohibits the use of a body belt in a fall arrest system, and instead requires the use of a body harness.
Construction Work: When Does The Rescue Provision -- §1926.502(d)(20) Apply?
You ask if employers must provide for self-rescue or prompt rescue when their employees are using a work positioning or restraint system. In light of the above definitions, we interpret your question as follows: first, must self-rescue or prompt rescue be provided where a harness and lanyard are set up so that the worker is not exposed to any fall (a restraint system)? The answer is no, since the worker would not be exposed to any fall.
Second, must the rescue provision be met where the worker is protected by a positioning system? The rescue provision applies where a fall arrest system is used while doing construction work. In construction work, a worker may use a positioning device only while working on a vertical work surface. Workers therefore may not use a positioning device while in a bucket truck or on a scissor lift. The only option other than a restraint system in that circumstance is a fall arrest system. If the lift can support the forces of an arrested fall and if a fall arrest system is used because the worker is exposed to a fall, the rescue provision does apply.
What Does The Rescue Provision Require
Prompt rescue, as required under §1926.502(d)(20), is not defined in the standard. The particular hazard that §1926.502(d)(20) addresses is being suspended by the fall arrest system after a fall. While an employee may be safely suspended in a body harness for a longer period than from a body belt, the word “prompt” requires that rescue be performed quickly -- in time to prevent serious injury to the worker.
You note that electrical utility and telecommunications workers sometimes work alone and that the employees? “status is maintained through normal work rules and operating procedures.” We recognize that there are a wide range of variables and circumstances between worksites. The standard requires that, to the extent feasible, a reliable system be in place to ensure that rescue will be prompt. Precisely what is required to comply with this provision in a remote location will depend on what is feasible under the particular circumstances. The range of feasible options available in remote locations may be more limited than in more populated areas.
Applicability of Construction Standards to Electrical Utility and Telecommunications Work
You ask several questions relating to the applicability of OSHA construction standards to electrical utility and telecommunications work. Your questions ask us to distinguish between construction work, to which the OSHA construction standards apply, and maintenance work, where they do not apply. The following principles and examples apply in distinguishing between construction and maintenance:
(A) It is the activity to be performed, not the company?s standard industrial classification (SIC) code, that determines whether the construction standard applies;
(B) “Maintenance” means keeping equipment or a structure in proper condition through routine, scheduled or anticipated measures without having to significantly alter the structure or equipment in the process. For equipment, this generally means keeping the equipment working properly by taking steps to prevent its failure or degradation.
(C) Whether repairs are maintenance or construction depends on the extent of the repair and whether the equipment is upgraded in the process.
Example No. 1: Maintenance
Five percent of a company?s utility lines are downed in a storm and are repaired or replaced. In so doing, the service is restored, with the same capacity and capabilities it had before the damage. This is maintenance work because only a small part of the total system is repaired or replaced and the work returns the system to its original condition.
Example No. 2: Construction
Three quarters of a company?s lines are damaged and replaced. This is construction because the work is done to a very large portion of the total system.
Example No. 3: Construction
A few lines are changed to upgrade service. This is construction work because this part of the system, though only a very small portion, is improved relative to its condition before the work was done.
Example No. 4: Maintenance
A small water shut-off valve in a large, complex chemical processing system is removed and replaced. Its replacement is part of the routine maintenance of the system and removing and replacing the valve is done without making major alterations to the rest of the system. The removal and replacement of the valve would be considered maintenance.
Example No. 5: Construction
A 36-inch valve that is one of three major components in a processing system is removed and replaced. To do the job, about half of all the parts in the system have to be cut, unbolted, moved, or otherwise altered or replaced. Removing and replacing this valve would be considered construction because the valve constitutes a major portion of the equipment it is in and a significant portion of the system?s parts must be moved or altered in the process of doing the job.
Unifying Parts 1910 and 1926
In your letter you suggest that the Agency unify the provisions of its parts 1910 and 1926 standards for fall protection and vehicle-mounted aerial lifts. We appreciate the need to simplify standards as much as possible and will keep your suggestion in mind in our upcoming rulemakings.
If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Directorate of Construction, Office of Construction Standards and Compliance Assistance, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20210.
Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction
OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
from Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR)
Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR) - Table of Contents
Use of the Appendix
Section I of appendix C sets out the mandatory criteria for personal fall arrest systems used by all employees using powered platforms, as required by paragraph (j)(1) of this standard. Section II sets out nonmandatory test procedures which may be used to determine compliance with applicable requirements contained in section I of this appendix. Section III provides nonmandatory guidelines which are intended to assist employers in complying with these provisions.
I. "Personal fall arrest systems" - (a) "Scope and application." This section establishes the application of and performance criteria for personal fall arrest systems which are required for use by all employees using powered platforms under paragraph 1910.66(j).
"Anchorage" means a secure point of attachment for lifelines, lanyards or deceleration devices, and which is independent of the means of supporting or suspending the employee.
"Body belt" means a strap with means both for securing it about the waist and for attaching it to a lanyard. lifeline, or deceleration device.
"Body harness" means a design of straps which may be secured about the employee in a manner to distribute the fall arrest forces over at least the thighs, pelvis. waist, chest and shoulders with means for attaching it,to other components of a personal fall arrest system.
"Buckle" means any device for holding the body belt or body harness closed around the employee's body.
"Competent person" means a person who is capable of identifying hazardous or dangerous conditions in the personal fall arrest system or any component thereof, as well as in their application and use with related equipment.
"Connector" means a device which is used to couple (connect) parts of the system together. It may be an independent component of the system (such as a carabiner), or an integral component of part of the system (such as a buckle or dee-ring sewn into a body belt or body harness, or a snap-hook spliced or sewn to a lanyard or self-retracting lanyard).
"Deceleration device" means any mechanism, such as a rope grab, ripstitch lanyard, specially woven lanyard, tearing or deforming lanyard, or automatic self retracting-lifeline/lanyard, which serves to dissipate a substantial amount of energy during a fall arrest, or otherwise limits the energy imposed on an employee during fall arrest.
"Deceleration distance" means the additional vertical distance a falling employee travels, excluding lifeline elongation and free fall distance, before stopping, from the point at which the deceleration device begins to operate. It is measured as the distance between the location of an employee's body belt or body harness attachment point at the moment of activation (at the onset of fall arrest forces) of the deceleration device during a fall, and the location of that attachment point after the employee comes to a full stop.
"Equivalent" means alternative designs materials or methods which the employer can demonstrate will provide an equal or greater degree of safety for employees than the methods, materials or designs specified in the standard.
"Free fall" means the act of falling before the personal fall arrest system begins to apply force to arrest the fall.
"Free fall distance" means the vertical displacement of the fall arrest attachment point on the employee's body belt or body harness between onset of the fall and just before the system begins to apply force to arrest the fall. This distance excludes deceleration distance, lifeline and lanyard elongation but include any deceleration device slide distance or self-retracting lifeline/lanyard extension before they operate and fall arrest forces occur.
"Lanyard" means a flexible line of rope, wire rope, or strap which is used to secure the body belt or body harness to a deceleration device, lifeline, or anchorage.
"Lifeline" means a component consisting of a flexible line for connection to an anchorage at one end to hang vertically (vertical lifeline), or for connection to anchorages at both ends to stretch horizontally (horizontal lifeline), and which serves as a means for connecting other components of a personal fall arrest system to the anchorage.
"Personal fall arrest system" means a system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a working level. It consists of an anchorage, connectors, a body belt or body harness and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or suitable combinations of these.
"Qualified person" means one with a recognized degree or professional certificate and extensive knowledge and experience in the subject field who is capable of design, analysis, evaluation and specifications in the subject work, project, or product.
"Rope grab" means a deceleration device which travels on a lifeline and automatically frictionally engages the lifeline and locks so as to arrest the fall of an employee. A rope grab usually employs the principle of inertial locking, cam/lever locking, or both.
"Self-retracting lifeline/lanyard" means a deceleration device which contains a drum wound line which may be slowly extracted from, or retracted onto, the drum under slight tension during normal employee movement, and which, after onset of a fall, automatically locks the drum and arrests the fall.
"Snap-hook" means a connector comprised of a hookshaped member with a normally closed keeper, or similar arrangement, which may be opened to permit the hook to receive an object and, when released, automatically closes to retain the object. Snap-hooks are generally one of two types:
1. The locking type with a self-closing, self-locking keeper which remains closed and locked until unlocked and pressed open for connection or disconnection, or
2. The non-locking type with a self-closing keeper which remains closed until pressed open for connection or disconnection.
"Tie-off' means the act of an employee, wearing personal fall protection equipment, connecting directly or indirectly to an anchorage. It also means the condition of an employee being connected to an anchorage.
(c) Design for system components. (1) Connectors shall be drop forged, pressed or formed steel, or made of equivalent materials.
(2) Connectors shall have a corrosion-resistant finish, and all surfaces and edges shall be smooth to prevent damage to interfacing parts of the system.
(3) Lanyards and vertical lifelines which tie-off one employee shall have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN).
(4) Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards which automatically limit free fall distance to two feet (0.61 m) or less shall have components capable of sustaining a minimum static tensile load of 3,000 pounds (13.3 kN) applied to the device with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position.
(5) Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards which do not limit free fall distance to two feet (0.61 m) or less, ripstitch lanyards, and tearing and deforming lanyards shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) applied to the device with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position.
(6) Dee-rings and snap-hooks shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN).
(7) Dee-rings and snap-hooks shall be 100 percent proof-tested to a minimum tensile load of 3,600 pounds (16 kN) without cracking, breaking, or taking permanent deformation.
(8) Snap-hooks shall be sized to be compatible with the member to which they are connected so as to prevent unintentional disengagement of the snap-hook by depression of the snap-hook keeper by the connected member, or shall be a locking type snap-hook designed and used to prevent disengagement of the snap-hook by the contact of the snaphook keeper by the connected member.
(9) Horizontal lifelines, where used, shall be designed, and installed as part of a complete personal fall arrest system, which maintains a safety factor of at least two, under the supervision of a qualified person.
(10) Anchorages to which personal fall arrest equipment is attached shall be capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) per employee attached, or shall be designed, installed, and used as part of a complete personal fall arrest system which maintains a safety factor of at least two, under the supervision of a qualified person.
(11) Ropes and straps (webbing) used in lanyards, lifelines, and strength components of body belts and body harnesses, shall be made from synthetic fibers or wire rope.
(d) "System performance criteria." (1) Personal fall arrest systems shall, when stopping a fall:
(i) Limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 900 pounds (4 kN) when used with a body belt;
(ii) Limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 kN) when used with a body harness;
(iii) Bring an employee to a complete stop and limit maximum deceleration distance an employee travels to 3.5 feet (1.07 m); and
(iv) Shall have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of an employee free falling a distance of six feet (1.8 m), or the free fall distance permitted by the system, whichever is less.
(2)(i) When used by employees having a combined person and tool weight of less than 310 pounds (140 kg), personal fall arrest systems which meet the criteria and protocols contained in paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) in section II of this appendix shall be considered as complying with the provisions of paragraphs (d)(1)(i) through (d)(1)(iv) above.
(ii) When used by employees having a combined tool and body weight of 310 pounds (140 kg) or more, personal fall arrest systems which meet the criteria and protocols contained in paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) in section II may be considered as complying with the provisions of paragraphs (d)(1)(i) through (d)(1)(iv) provided that the criteria and protocols are modified appropriately to provide proper protection for such heavier weights.
(e) "Care and use." (1) Snap-hooks, unless of a locking type designed and used to prevent disengagement from the following connections, shall not be engaged:
(i) Directly to webbing, rope or wire rope;
(ii) To each other;
(iii) To a dee-ring to which another snap-hook or other connector is attached;
(iv) To a horizontal lifeline; or
(v) To any object which is incompatibly shaped or dimensioned in relation to the snap-hook such that the connected object could depress the snap-hook keeper a sufficient amount to release itself.
(2) Devices used to connect to a horizontal lifeline which may become a vertical lifeline shall be capable of locking in either direction on the lifeline.
(3) Personal fall arrest systems shall be rigged such that an employee can neither free fall more than six feet (1.8 m), nor contact any lower level.
(4) The attachment point of the body belt shall be located in the center of the wearer's back. The attachment point of the body harness shall be located in the center of the wearer's back near shoulder level, or above the wearer's head.
(5) When vertical lifelines are used, each employee shall be provided with a separate lifeline.
(6) Personal fall arrest systems or components shall be used only for employee fall protection.
(7) Personal fall arrest systems or components subjected to impact loading shall be immediately removed from service and shall not be used again for employee protection unless inspected and determined by a competent person to be undamaged and suitable for reuse.
(8) The employer shall provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or shall assure the self-rescue capability of employees.
(9) Before using a personal fall arrest system and after any component or system is changed, employees shall be trained in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 1910.66(i)(1), in the safe use of the system.
(f) "Inspections." Personal fall arrest systems shall be inspected prior to each use for mildew, wear, damage and other deterioration, and defective components shall be removed from service if their strength or function may be adversely affected.
II. "Test methods for personal fall arrest systems (non-mandatory)" - (a) "General." Paragraphs (b), (c), (d) and (e), of this section II set forth test procedures which may be used to determine compliance with the requirements in paragraph (d)(1)(i) through (d)(1)(iv) of section I of this appendix.
(b) "General conditions for all tests in section II." (1) Lifelines, lanyards and deceleration devices should be attached to an anchorage and connected to the body-belt or body harness in the same manner as they would be when used to protect employees.
(2) The anchorage should be rigid, and should not have a deflection greater than .04 inches (1 mm) when a force of 2,250 pounds (10 kN) is applied.
(3) The frequency response of the load measuring instrumentation should be 120 Hz.
(4) The test weight used in the strength and force tests should be a rigid, metal, cylindrical or torso-shaped object with a girth of 38 inches plus or minus four inches (96 cm plus or minus 10 cm).
(5) The lanyard or lifeline used to create the free fall distance should be supplied with the system, or in its absence, the least elastic lanyard or lifeline available to be used with the system.
(6) The test weight for each test should be hoisted to the required level and should be quickly released without having any appreciable motion imparted to it.
(7) The system's performance should be evaluated taking into account the range of environmental conditions for which it is designed to be used.
(8) Following the test, the system need not be capable of further operation.
(c) "Strength test." (1) During the testing of all systems a test weight of 300 pounds plus or minus five pounds (135 kg plus or minus 2.5 kg) should be used. (See paragraph (b)(4), above.)
(2) The test consists of dropping the test weight once. A new unused system should be used for each test.
(3) For lanyard systems, the lanyard length should be six feet plus or minus two inches (1.83 m plus or minus 5 cm) as measured from the fixed anchorage to the attachment on the body belt or body harness.
(4) For rope-grab-type deceleration systems, the length of the lifeline above the centerline of the grabbing mechanism to the lifeline's anchorage point should not exceed two feet (0.61 m).
(5) For lanyard systems, for systems with deceleration devices which do not automatically limit free fall distance to two feet (0.61 m) or less, and for systems with deceleration devices which have a connection distance in excess of one foot (0.3 m) (measured between the centerline of the lifeline and the attachment point to the body belt or harness), the test weight should be rigged to free fall a distance of 7.5 feet (2.3 m) from a point that is 1.5 feet (46 cm) above the anchorage point, to its hanging location (six feet below the anchorage). The test weight should fall without interference, obstruction, or hitting the floor or ground during the test. In some cases a non-elastic wire lanyard of sufficient length may need to be added to the system (for test purposes) to create the necessary free fall distance.
(6) For deceleration device systems with integral lifelines or lanyards which automatically limit free fall distance to two feet (0.61 m) or less, the test weight should be rigged to free fall a distance of four feet (1.22 m).
(7) Any weight which detaches from the belt or harness should constitute failure for the strength test.
(d) "Force test" - (1) "General." The test consists of dropping the respective test weight specified in (d)(2)(i) or (d)(3)(i) once. A new, unused system should be used for each test.
(2) "For lanyard systems." (i) A test weight of 220 pounds plus or minus three pounds (100 kg plus or minus 1.6 kg) should be used. (See paragraph (b)(4), above.)
(ii) Lanyard length should be six feet plus or minus two inches (1.83 m plus or minus 5 cm) as measured from the fixed anchorage to the attachment on the body belt or body harness.
(iii) The test weight should fall free from the anchorage level to its hanging location (a total of six feet (1.83 m) free fall distance) without interference, obstruction, or hitting the floor or ground during the test.
(3) "For all other systems." (i) A test weight of 220 pounds plus or minus three pounds (100 kg plus or minus 1.6 kg) should be used. (See paragraph (b)(4), above.)
(ii) The free fall distance to be used in the test should be the maximum fall distance physically permitted by the system during normal use conditions, up to a maximum free fall distance for the test weight of six feet (1.83 m), except as follows:
(A) For deceleration systems which have a connection link or lanyard, the test weight should free fall a distance equal to the connection distance (measured between the centerline of the lifeline and the attachment point to the body belt or harness).
(B) For deceleration device systems with integral lifelines or lanyards which automatically limit free fall distance to two feet (0.61 m) or less, the test weight should free fall a distance equal to that permitted by the system in normal use. (For example, to test a system with a self-retracting lifeline or lanyard, the test weight should be supported and the system allowed to retract the lifeline or lanyard as it would in normal use. The test weight would then be released and the force and deceleration distance measured).
(4) A system fails the force test if the recorded maximum arresting force exceeds 1,260 pounds (15.6 kN) when using a body belt, and/or exceeds 2,520 pounds (11.2 kN) when using a body harness.
(5) The maximum elongation and deceleration distance should be recorded during the force test.
(e) "Deceleration device tests" - (1) "General." The device should be evaluated or tested under the environmental conditions. (such as rain, ice, grease, dirt, type of lifeline, etc.), for which the device is designed.
(2) "Rope-grab-type deceleration devices." (i) Devices should be moved on a lifeline 1,000 times over the same length of line a distance of not less than one foot (30.5 cm), and the mechanism should lock each time.
(ii) Unless the device is permanently marked to indicate the type(s) of lifeline which must be used, several types (different diameters and different materials), of lifelines should be used to test the device.
(3) "Other self-activating-type deceleration devices." The locking mechanisms of other self-activating-type deceleration devices designed for more than one arrest should lock each of 1,000 times as they would in normal service.
III. "Additional non-mandatory guidelines for personal full arrest systems." The following information constitutes additional guidelines for use in complying with requirements for a personal fall arrest system.
(a) "Selection and use considerations." The kind of personal fall arrest system selected should match the particular work situation, and any possible free fall distance should be kept to a minimum. Consideration should be given to the particular work environment. For example, the presence of acids, dirt, moisture, oil, grease, etc., and their effect on the system, should be evaluated. Hot or cold environments may also have an adverse affect on the system. Wire rope should not be used where an electrical hazard is anticipated. As required by the standard, the employer must plan to have means available to promptly rescue an employee should a fall occur, since the suspended employee may not be able to reach a work level independently.
Where lanyards. connectors. and lifelines are subject to damage by work operations such as welding, chemical cleaning, and sandblasting, the component should be protected, or other securing systems should be used. The employer should fully evaluate the work conditions and environment (including seasonal weather changes) before selecting the appropriate personal fall protection system. Once in use, the system's effectiveness should be monitored. In some cases, a program for cleaning and maintenance of the system may be necessary.
(b) "Testing considerations." Before purchasing or putting into use a personal fall arrest system, an employer should obtain from the supplier information about the system based on its performance during testing so that the employer can know if the system meets this standard. Testing should be done using recognized test methods. Section II of this appendix C contains test methods recognized for evaluating the performance of fall arrest systems. Not all systems may need to be individually tested; the performance of some systems may be based on data and calculations derived from testing of similar systems, provided that enough information is available to demonstrate similarity of function and design.
(c) "Comment compatibility considerations." Ideally, a personal fall arrest system is designed, tested, and supplied as a complete system. However, it is common practice for lanyards, connectors, lifelines, deceleration devices, body belts and body harnesses to be interchanged since some components wear out before others. The employer and employee should realize that not all components are interchangeable. For instance, a lanyard should not be connected between a body belt (or harness) and a deceleration device of the self-retracting type since this can result in additional free fall for which the system was not designed. Any substitution or change to a personal fall arrest system should be fully evaluated or tested by a competent person to determine that it meets the standard, before the modified system is put in use.
(d) "Employee training considerations." Thorough employee training in the selection and use of personal fall arrest systems is imperative. As stated in the standard, before the equipment is used, employees must be trained in the safe use of the system. This should include the following: Application limits; proper anchoring and tie-off techniques; estimation of free fall distance, including determination of deceleration distance, and total fall distance to prevent striking a lower level; methods of use; and inspection and storage of the system. Careless or improper use of the equipment can result in serious injury or death. Employers and employees should become familiar with the material in this appendix, as well as manufacturer's recommendations, before a system is used. Of uppermost importance is the reduction in strength caused by certain tie-offs (such as using knots, tying around sharp edges, etc.) and maximum permitted free fall distance. Also, to be stressed are the importance of inspections prior to use, the limitations of the equipment, and unique conditions at the worksite which may be important in determining the type of system to use.
(e) "Instruction considerations." Employers should obtain comprehensive instructions from the supplier as to the system's proper use and application, including, where applicable:
(1) The force measured during the sample force test;
(2) The maximum elongation measured for lanyards during the force test;
(3) The deceleration distance measured for deceleration devices during the force test;
(4) Caution statements on critical use limitations;
(5) Application limits;
(6) Proper hook-op, anchoring and tie-off techniques, including the proper dee-ring or other attachment point to use on the body belt and harness for fall arrest;
(7) Proper climbing techniques;
(8) Methods of inspection, use, cleaning, and storage; and
(9) Specific lifelines which may be used. This information should be provided to employees during training.
(f) "Inspection considerations." As stated in the standard (section I, Paragraph (f)), personal fall arrest systems must be regularly inspected. Any component with any significant defect, such as cuts, tears, abrasions, mold, or undue stretching; alterations or additions which might affect its efficiency; damage due to deterioration; contact with fire, acids, or other corrosives; distorted hooks or faulty hook springs; tongues unfitted to the shoulder of buckles; loose or damaged mountings; non-functioning parts; or wearing or internal deterioration in the ropes must be withdrawn from service immediately, and should be tagged or marked as unusable, or destroyed.
(g) "Rescue considerations." As required by the standard (section I Paragraph (e)(8)), when personal fall arrest systems are used, the employer must assure that employees can be promptly rescued or can rescue themselves should a fall occur. The availability of rescue personnel, ladders or other rescue equipment should be evaluated. In some situations, equipment which allows employees to rescue themselves after the fall has been arrested may be desirable, such as devices which have descent capability.
(h) "Tie-off considerations." (1) One of the most important aspects of personal fall protection systems is fully planning the system "before" it is put into use. Probably the most overlooked component is planning for suitable anchorage points. Such planning should ideally be done before the structure or building is constructed so that anchorage points can be incorporated during construction for use later for window cleaning or other building maintenance. If properly planned, these anchorage points may be used "during" construction, as well as afterwards.
(2) Employers and employees should at all times be aware that the strength of a personal fall arrest system is based on its being attached to an anchoring system which does not significantly reduce the strength of the system (such as a properly dimensioned eye-bolt/snap-hook anchorage). Therefore, if a means of attachment is used that will reduce the strength of the system, that component should be replaced by a stronger one, but one that will also maintain the appropriate maximum arrest force characteristics.
(3) Tie-off using a knot in a rope lanyard or lifeline (at any location) can reduce the lifeline or lanyard strength by 50 percent or more. Therefore, a stronger lanyard or lifeline should be used to compensate for the weakening effect of the knot, or the lanyard length should be reduced (or the tie-off location raised) to minimize free fall distance, or the lanyard or lifeline should be replaced by one which has an appropriately incorporated connector to eliminate the need for a knot.
(4) Tie-off of a rope lanyard or lifeline around an "H" or "I" beam or similar support can reduce its strength as much as 70 percent due to the cutting action of the beam edges. Therefore, use should be made of a webbing lanyard or wire core lifeline around the beam; or the lanyard or lifeline should be protected from the edge: or free fall distance should be greatly minimized.
(5) Tie-off where the line passes over or around rough or sharp surfaces reduces strength drastically. Such a tie-off should be avoided or an alternative tie-off rigging should be used. Such alternatives may include use of a snap-hook/dee ring connection, wire rope tie-off, an effective padding of the surfaces, or an abrasion-resistance strap around or over the problem surface.
(6) Horizontal lifelines may, depending on their geometry and angle of sag, be subjected to greater loads than the impact load imposed by an attached component. When the angle of horizontal lifeline sag is less than 30 degrees, the impact force imparted to the lifeline by an attached lanyard is greatly amplified. For example, with a sag angle of 15 degrees, the force amplification is about 2:1 and at 5 degrees sag, it is about 6:1. Depending on the angle of sag, and the line's elasticity, the strength of the horizontal lifeline and the anchorages to which it is attached should be increased a number of times over that of the lanyard. Extreme care should be taken in considering a horizontal lifeline for multiple tie-offs. The reason for this is that in multiple tie-offs to a horizontal lifeline, if one employee falls, the movement of the falling employee and the horizontal lifeline during arrest of the fall may cause other employees to also fall. Horizontal lifeline and anchorage strength should be increased for each additional employee to be tied-off. For these and other reasons, the design of systems using horizontal lifelines must only be done by qualified persons. Testing of installed lifelines and anchors prior to use is recommended.
(7) The strength of an eye-bolt is rated along the axis of the bolt and its strength is greatly reduced if the force is applied at an angle to this axis (in the direction of shear). Also, care should be exercised in selecting the proper diameter of the eye to avoid accidental disengagement of snap-hooks not designed to be compatible for the connection.
(8) Due to the significant reduction in the strength of the lifeline/lanyard (in some cases, as much as a 70 percent reduction), the sliding hitch knot should not be used for lifeline/lanyard connections except in emergency situations where no other available system is practical. The "one-and-one" sliding hitch knot should never be used because it is unreliable in stopping a fall. The "two-and-two," or "three-and-three" knot (preferable), may be used in emergency situations; however, care should be taken to limit free fall distance to a minimum because of reduced lifeline/lanyard strength.
(i) "Vertical lifeline considerations." As required by the standard, each employee must have a separate lifeline when the lifeline is vertical. The reason for this is that in multiple tie-offs to a single lifeline, if one employee falls, the movement of the lifeline during the arrest of the fall may pull other employees' lanyards, causing them to fall as well.
(j) "Snap-hook considerations." Although not required by this standard for all connections, locking snap-hooks designed for connection to suitable objects (of sufficient strength) are highly recommended in lieu of the non-locking type. Locking snap-hooks incorporate a positive locking mechanism in addition to the spring loaded keeper, which will not allow the keeper to open under moderate pressure without someone first releasing the mechanism. Such a feature, properly designed, effectively prevents roll-out from occurring.
As required by the standard (section I, paragraph (e)(1)) the following connections must be avoided (unless properly designed locking snap-hooks are used) because they are conditions which can result in roll-out when a nonlocking snap-hook is used:
(k) "Free fall considerations." The employer and employee should at all times be aware that a system's maximum arresting force is evaluated under normal use conditions established by the manufacturer, and in no case using a free fall distance in excess of six feet (1.8 m). A few extra feet of free fall can significantly increase the arresting force on the employee, possibly to the point of causing injury. Because of this, the free fall distance should be kept at a minimum, and, as required by the standard, in no case greater than six feet (1-8 m). To help assure this, the tie-off attachment point to the lifeline or anchor should be located at or above the connection point of the fall arrest equipment to belt or harness. (Since otherwise additional free fall distance is added to the length of the connecting means (i.e. lanyard)). Attaching to the working surface will often result in a free fall greater than six feet (1.8 m). For instance, if a six foot (1.8 m) lanyard is used, the total free fall distance will be the distance from the working level to the body belt (or harness) attachment point plus the six feet (1.8 m) of lanyard length. Another important consideration is that the arresting force which the fall system must withstand also goes up with greater distances of free fall, possibly exceeding the strength of the system.
(l) "Elongation and deceleration distance considerations." Other factors involved in a proper tie-off are elongation and deceleration distance. During the arresting of a fall, a lanyard will experience a length of stretching or elongation, whereas activation of a deceleration device will result in a certain stopping distance. These distances should be available with the lanyard or device's instructions and must be added to the free fall distance to arrive at the total fall distance before an employee is fully stopped. The additional stopping distance may be very significant if the lanyard or deceleration device is attached near or at the end of a long lifeline, which may itself add considerable distance due to its own elongation. As required by the standard, sufficient distance to allow for all of these factors must also be maintained between the employee and obstructions below, to prevent an injury due to impact before the system fully arrests the fall. In addition, a minimum of 12 feet (3.7 m) of lifeline should be allowed below the securing point of a rope grab type deceleration device, and the end terminated to prevent the device from sliding off the lifeline. Alternatively, the lifeline should extend to the ground or the next working level below. These measures are suggested to prevent the worker from inadvertently moving past the end of the lifeline and having the rope grab become disengaged from the lifeline.
(m) "Obstruction considerations." The location of the tie-off should also consider the hazard of obstructions in the potential fall path of the employee. Tie-offs which minimize the possibilities of exaggerated swinging should be considered. In addition, when a body belt is used, the employee's body will go through a horizontal position to a jack-knifed position during the arrest of all falls. Thus, obstructions which might interfere with this motion should be avoided or a severe injury could occur.
(n) "Other considerations." Because of the design of some personal fall arrest systems, additional considerations may be required for proper tie-off. For example, heavy deceleration devices of the self-retracting type should be secured overhead in order to avoid the weight of the device having to be supported by the employee. Also, if self-retracting equipment is connected to a horizontal lifeline, the sag in the lifeline should be minimized to prevent the device from sliding down the lifeline to a position which creates a swing hazard during fall arrest. In all cases, manufacturer's instructions should be followed.
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