Falls continue to be the #1 cause for fatalities in the Construction Industry. Working at heights is extremely dangerous and one should always follow all policies & procedures in order to complete the job safely & efficiently. PLS requires 100% fall protection for any work that is being done 6′ & above the ground level. This includes working near edges where guardrail systems are not installed properly such as the pictures shown below.

Last week we had a near miss at one of our job sites regarding the lack of fall protection. This hazard was being overlooked by the GC and other contractors on site. Through our audit process, we were able to identify the hazard and implement a corrective action plan.

Many times the nature and location of the work will dictate the form that fall protection takes. If the employer chooses to use a guardrail system, he must comply with the following provisions:

  • Top edge height of top rails, or equivalent guardrail system members, must be between 39 and 45 inches above the walking/working level, except when conditions warrant otherwise and all other criteria are met (e.g., when employees are using stilts, the top edge height of the top rail must be increased by an amount equal the height of the stilts).
  • Midrails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, or equivalent intermediate structures, must be installed between the top edge and the walking/working surface when there is no wall or other structure at least 21 inches high.
    • Midrails must be midway between the top edge of the guardrail system and the walking/working level.
    • Screens and mesh must extend from the top rail to the walking/working level, and along the entire opening between rail supports.
    • Intermediate members (such as balasters) between posts must be no more than 19 inches apart.
    • Other structural members (such as additional midrails or architectural panels) must be installed so as to leave no openings wider than 19 inches.
  • Guardrail systems must be capable of withstanding at least 200 pounds of force applied within 2 inches of the top edge, in any direction and at any point along the edge, and without causing the top edge of the guardrail to deflect downward to a height less than 39 inches above the walking/working level.
  • Midrails, screens, mesh, and other intermediate members must be capable of withstanding at least 150 pounds of force applied in any direction at any point along the midrail or other member.
  • Guardrail systems must not have rough or jagged surfaces that would cause punctures, lacerations, or snagged clothing.
  • Top rails and midrails must not cause a projection hazard by overhanging the terminal posts

If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us!