According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, fall protection was the number one source of OSHA citations in fiscal year 2014, with penalties exceeding $17 million and 6,011 citations issued across all industries. While most of OSHA’s scrutiny was on the building construction industry (893 fall protection citations totaling $2,086,696 in penalties), noncompliance was found in a variety of industries including merchant wholesalers, manufacturers, waste management services, administrative and support services, real estate, utilities, and accommodations.
OSHA’s fall protection standard mandates that employees determine “if the walking/working surfaces on which employees are to work have the strength and structural integrity to support employees safely. Employees shall be allowed to work on those surfaces only when the surfaces have the requisite strength and structural integrity.” Additionally, employees on walking or working surfaces with an unprotected side or edge six or more feet above a lower level must be protected from falling with guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.
There are three basic steps that employers should follow to ensure worker safety: 1) Plan how the job will be done, what tasks are to be performed, and what safety equipment may be required for each task. 2) Provide fall protection and the right equipment for the task for workers six or more feet above lower levels. 3) Train workers in hazard recognition and in the care and safe use of ladders, scaffolds, fall protection systems, and other equipment used on the job. Anchortex Corporation offers a variety of fall protection equipment for employers to maintain OSHA compliance and avoid costly citations and accidents, including confined space entry and rescue tripods, winches, lifelines, and other equipment for fall protection in confined spaces and above-ground work situations.