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OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has devised a set of governing rules in order to standardize worker safety across all industries. These guidelines must be adhered to by law, regardless of the type of industry or the type of work being performed in a specific area.
Of specific interest for the purposes of this article, is fall protection equipment, such as harnesses, guardrail requirements and safety gates, which are all linked to the OSHA work platform requirements.
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OSHA guardrail requirements
When a work platform is more than 4 feet above the nearest adjacent floor level or working space, it requires a guardrail. Minimum requirements are set for the dimensions of this guard rail: the top bar of the guard rail must be able to withstand a 200lb load and be situated 42” above the working platform. OSHA guardrail requirements also state that every guard rail must have a midrail positioned such that the opening between the toprail and the midrail or the midrail and the working platform does not exceed 19”. The midrail must be able to withstand a force of 150lb.
The OSHA work platform requirements
The OSHA work platform requirements further states that a safety gate be installed at any floor opening. This safety gate must be self-closing, which would usually be a swinging gate. The gate and floor opening must be positioned such that no worker can accidentally fall into the floor opening, resulting in serious injury or fatality.
When accessing a raised platform, workers are usually required to wear a fall protection harness, ensuring their safety while working at heights. In the case where the working platform is surrounded by adequate guard rails, the harness does not have to be worn while on the working platform. Should the working platform not have sufficient guard rails, the harness must be worn at all times. To access the OSHA requirements in their entirety, please visit their website: www.osha.com