Currently, OSHA requires that employers provide fall protection for construction workers on a walking or working surface with an unprotected edge that is 6 feet or more above a lower level. Fall protection height approved by OSHA includes guardrails, safety net systems, and personal fall arrest systems (i.e. safety harnesses). Employers are permitted to use any or all of the three prescribed fall protection systems in most instances, not specifically safety harnesses as Gilbane recommends. In this article you will find out what height is fall protection, what fall protection you need at what height and why a working at height harness is very common.

But at what height is fall protection required? The rule covers a number of areas and activities where fall protection is required and the fall protection systems allowed. For example, protecting workers from falls into holes, such as skylights, another acceptable means of fall protection is installing a cover over the opening. But what height is fall protection? When working on the face of reinforcing steel or formwork above 6 feet, employees can use a personal fall arrest system, safety net, or positioning device system.

What fall protection is required at what height? Besides what height is fall protection, you also need the right fall protection. The rules of fall protection height are also different when it comes to working on scaffolding and for steelworkers. For scaffold work, employees must have fall protection when working at a height of 10 feet or more above a lower level. Employees must not work on scaffold surfaces until they are safely secured. The type of fall protection required by OSHA scaffolding regulations varies depending on the type of scaffold being used. A ladder jack scaffold or a float scaffold requires a personal fall arrest system (aka: safety harness) while a single-point or two-point adjustable suspension scaffold requires both a safety harness and a guardrail system. A working at height harness is very common to make sure you work in a safe environment.

Workers performing steel erection work aren’t required to use fall protection until they are working at heights of 15 feet or more above a lower level. Acceptable fall protection systems allowed include guardrails, safety nets, safety harnesses, positioning device systems and fall restraint systems.

OSHA has not responded to Gilbane’s safety harness proposal and doesn’t have any proposed rulemaking currently to make any changes to their fall protection standards. OSHA’s reasoning for having different fall protection height thresholds for fall protection for different aspects of construction such as scaffold work and steel erection was cited as being in line with consensus standards at the time and with the difficulty for deploying fall protection at the 6-foot threshold for these activities.

We hope this answers your question at what height is fall protection required and how to use a harness.

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