September 13th, 2013
OSHA recently released the 2011 top cited safety hazards in the construction industry, and residential fall protection was number one. In this last year, OSHA’s revised residential standards have caused quite a stir in the home building and roofing market, having many contractors scrambling to comply.
The lack of fall clearance is one of the greatest dangers in residential fall protection. In most scenarios, workers need at least 18 feet of fall clearance when using conventional fall arrest systems. A necessity that is difficult to achieve in the residential construction industry, especially since contractors are often forced to tie off when standing on the first level top plate with anchor points located at their feet. This anchoring method means conventional systems such as "fall protection kits" or “complaint fall kits in a can" can be virtually worthless for framers and similar trades.
Fortunately, companies like Guardian Fall Protection have developed an assortment of passive fall protection solutions, which are designed to 'wrap' the first level frame using either guardrails or netting. The use of fall protection netting, scaffolding, and guardrails requires new steps in the construction process, and so, safety directors must coordinate directly with construction managers to ensure these solutions are correctly implemented.
Once the passive systems are incorporated properly, it’s easy to see the benefits. These systems can enhance and simplify safety so workers can move freely without the hassle of conventional fall protection systems.
The beginning stages of passive fall protection implementation can be painful, but the payoff for the inclusion of these products on the job site can be very rewarding. For example, residential netting can provide a great solution for first level tie off as it can be installed quickly and is completely reusable so material costs are reduced in the future.
Another example of an effective passive system would be the unique Guardian Fall Protection WallWalker. The WallWalker is a lightweight, fully adjustable hanging wall scaffolding system that acts as a residential guardrail system. Costs here can be mitigated through the Guardian Fall Protection Rental Program.
Certainly with the revised residential standards for sub-part M as implemented by OSHA, safety departments will be under increased scrutiny to get their workers up to speed and, as always, Guardian Fall Protection is here to help. We can assist you by designing a fall protection system to meet both your individual processes and current safety program.
Give us a call today!