Fall Protection in Construction
-taken from OSHA 3146-05R; 2015
Low Slope Roofing
Each employee engaged in roofing activities on low-slope(slopes4:12)
roofs with unprotected sides(1)
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.
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 than 6 feet intervals (1.8 meters) with high-visibility material. 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 pounds (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 overhand 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 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:
- Limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 900 pounds (4 kilonewtons) when used with a body belt;
- Limit maximum arresting force
on an employee of 1,800 pounds (8 kilonewtons) when used with a body harness;
- Be rigged so that an employee can neither free fall
more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) nor contact any lower level;
- Bring an employee to a complete stop and limit maximum deceleration distance
an employee travels to 3.5 feet (1.07 meters); and
- Have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of an employee
free falling a distance of 6 feet (1.8 meters) or the free fall distance permitted by the system, whichever is less.
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 outside the keeper, thus depressing it open. As of January 1, 1998, the use of nonlocking snaphooks will be 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 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 (.61 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:
- Is competent in the recognition of fall hazards;
- Is capable of warning workers of fall hazard dangers and in detecting unsafe work
- Is operating on the same walking/working surfaces of the workers and can see them;
- Is close enough to work operations to
communicate orally with workers and has no other duties to distract from the monitoring function.
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 the 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:
Vertical distance from working level to horizontal plane of net.
Minimum required horizontal distance of outer edge of net from the
edge of the working surface.
Up to 5 feet (1.5 m)
8 feet (2.4 m)
More than 5 feet (1.5 m) up to 10 feet (3 m)
10 feet (3 m)
More than 10
feet (3 m)
13 feet (3.9 m)
Safety nets shall be capable of absorbing an impact force of a drop test consisting of a 400-pound (180 kilograms) 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, tools, and equipment--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:
- Flagged at not more than 6 foot (1.8 meters) intervals with high visibility material;
- Rigged and supported so that the lowest point
(including sag) is no less than 34 inches (0.9 meters) from the walking/working surface and it highest point is no more than 39 inches
(1 meter) from the walking/working surface.
- Stanchions, after being rigged with warning lines, shall be capable of resisting, without
tipping over, a force of at least 16 pounds (71 newtons) applied horizontally against the stanchion, 30 inches (0.8 meters) above
the walking/working surface, perpendicular to the warning line and in the direction of the floor, roof, or platform edge;
- The rope,
wire, or chain shall have a minimum tensile strength of 500 pounds (22.2 kilonewtons) and after being attached to the stanchions,
must support without breaking the load applied to the stanchions as prescribed above.
- Shall be attached to each stanchion in such
a way that pulling on one section of the line between stanchions will not result in slack being taken up in the adjacent section before
the stanchion tips over.
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.
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 meters) 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.
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.
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."
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.
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 shall be stored within 4 feet (1.2 meters) of working edges. 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 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 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 1 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.
29 CFR Ch XVII (7-1-98 Edition)
|(f) Warning line systems. Warning line systems [See §1926.501(b)(10)] and their use shall
comply with the following provisions:
- The warning line shall be erected around all sides of the roof work area.
- When mechanical equipment
is not being used, the warning line shall be erected not less than 6 feet (1.8 meters) from the roof edge;
- When mechanical equipment
is being used, the warning line shall be erected not less than 6 feet (1.8 meters) from the roof edge which is parallel to the direction
of mechanical equipment operation, and not less than 10 feet (3.1 meters) from the roof edge which is perpendicular to the direction
of mechanical equipment operation;
- Points of access, materials handling areas, storage areas, and hoisting areas shall be connected
to the work area by an access path formed by two warning lines;
When the path to a point of access is not in use, a rope, wire, chain,
or other barricade, equivalent in strength and height to the the path shall be offset such that a person cannot walk directly into
the work area.
- Warning lines shall consist of ropes, wires, or chains, and supporting stanchions erected as follows:
- The rope, wire,
or chain shall be flagged at not more than 6 foot (1.8 meters) intervals with high-visibility material;
- The rope, wire or chain shall
be rigged and supported in such a way that at its lowest point (including sag) is no less than 34 inches (.9 meters) from the walking/working
surface and its highest point is no more than 39 inches (1 meter) from the walking/working surface;
- After being erected, with the
rope, wire, or chain attached, stanchions shall be capable of resisting, without tipping over, a force of at least 16 pounds (71 newtons)
applied horizontally against the stanchion, 30 inches (.8 meters) above the walking/ working surface, perpendicular to the warning
line, and in the direction of the floor, roof, or platform edge;
- The rope, wire, or chain shall have a minimum tensile strength of
500 pounds (2.22 kilonewtons), and after being
- (con't)attached to the stanchions, shall be capable of supporting, without breaking,
the loads applied to the stanchions as prescribed in paragraph (f)(2)(iii) of this section; and
- The line shall be attached at each
stanchion in such a way that pulling on one section of the line between stanchions will not result in slack being taken up in adjacent
sections before the stanchion tips over.
- No employee shall be allowed in the area between a roof edge and a warning line unless the
employee is performing roofing work in that area.
- Mechanical equipment on roofs shall be used or stored only in areas where employees
are protected by a warning line system, guardrail system, or personal fall arrest system.
(h) Safety monitoring systems. Safety monitoring
systems [See §1926.501(b)(10) and 1926.502(k)] and their use shall comply with the following provisions:
- The employer shall designate
a competent person to monitor the safety of other employees and the employer shall ensure that the safety monitor complies with the
- The safety monitor shall be competent to recognize fall hazards;
- The safety monitor shall warn the employee
when it appears that the employee is unaware of a fall hazard or is acting in an unsafe manner;
- The safety monitor shall be on the
same walking/working surface and within visual sighting distance of the employee being monitored;
- The safety monitor shall be close
enough to communicate orally with the employee; and
- The safety monitor shall not have other responsibilities which could take the
monitor's attention from the monitoring function.
- 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-slope
- No employee, other than an employee engaged
in roofing work [on low-sloped roofs] or an employee covered by a fall protection plan, shall be allowed in an area where an employee
is being protected by a safety monitoring system.
|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 secure 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
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.
Position 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.
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.
An unprotected side is an edge where there is no wall or guardrail at least 39" high.
Manufacturers of Roofing Equipment
Warning Line Code Text