Safety protocols for ensuring safe working at elevated heights

Safety is paramount in all industries, and as the construction industry accounts for the maximum fatalities occurring from falls, fall protection becomes most important for the industry. Between 2003 and 2013, there had been 3,500 fatalities in the construction industry. Of all the fall deaths, nearly 1,200 deaths were from falls from the roof, which is almost 34% of the total figure reported during the period. To gather more information about ensuring the safety of workers while working on roofs, visit the website of OSHA. The roofing industry need to take more precaution at the workplace by educating workers and making them aware of practicing safe working while employers must ensure that all safety protocols are followed.

Responsibility of employers

Providing fall protection is the responsibility of the employers who must provide fall protection for employees who are vulnerable to a fall from a minimum height of 6 feet. The recommended way to ensure fall protection is to use a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS), which, when used properly, will arrest a fall and prevent the worker from hitting a lower level. 

What is PFAS?

A typical personal fall arrest system consists of a harness, an anchor, and a lanyard or lifeline accompanied by a deceleration system. The design of the body harnesses ensures that the body of workers experience minimal stress force in the event of a fall while allowing enough freedom of movement to perform the work comfortably. Remember that trying to substitute body harnesses with body belts contravenes the OSHA guidelines as it causes severe injuries during fall. Anchorages for attachment of personal fall arrest equipment must exclusively support harnesses only and not any other suspended platforms.  The attachment of the body harness must be at the center of the wearer’s back, above the head or near the shoulder level.

Rescue of workers

Preparing for the worse is the way to ensure that the safety systems work effectively because, despite the best intention and using the best equipment, falls can happen. Whenever a worker falls, employers must ensure that there is a plan for rescuing them even if they use PFAS. The inability to rescue a fallen worker quickly can lead to the development of suspension trauma. Rescue personnel must be ready with ladders and other rescue equipment to rescue fallen workers quickly. For more information, visit website by clicking here.

Guard rail system

Using guard rails around the roof openings and the perimeter of the roof is the recommended safety protocol. Employers can set up temporary guard rail systems at construction sites that remain attached to rafters or other structural members. The top rail of the guard rail system should be at the height of 39″ to 45″ above the working/walking surface. Intermediate rail would be required if there is no parapet wall or wall of 21″ height, and the mid-rail must be positioned in the middle between the top rail and the walking or working surface.

Roofers using ladders must get it inspected by a competent person periodically to detect visible damages and defects and especially after any occurrence that could render it vulnerable.

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