This section has been reviewed and updated as needed: May 2014

(OSHA 1926.501, 1926.502, 1926.503)

Purpose

This policy is to establish requirements for the safety of UNC employees while using fall protection equipment in various locations around campus. The purpose of the fall protection policy is to establish a set of guidelines and requirements that UNC Environment, Health and Safety, supervisors, and employees must uphold. There are various hazards associated with fall protection, and this policy has been developed to assist in mitigating those hazards. Identifying fall hazards and deciding how best to protect workers is the first step in reducing or eliminating fall hazards.

Responsibilities

Environment, Health and Safety

EHS is responsible for reviewing hazards and incidents associated with fall protection equipment. EHS will also inspect fall protection equipment during the annual inspection to ensure the equipment meets OSHA requirements. EHS is responsible for reviewing and updating the Fall Protection Policy. EHS and Supervisors will also work jointly in the development of Job Safety Analysis for fall protection issues that present a unique hazard to the employee.

Supervisor and Employee

It is the supervisors’ responsibility to make sure that employees who will be required to use fall protection equipment, are properly trained in fall protection upon employment. One means of conducting this training is to develop a JSA that covers the pertinent information on how to properly and safely use the specific type of fall protection equipment that is issued to the employee and to address the hazards that they may be exposed to in the field. The following link provides further information on how to develop a Job Safety Analysis (JSA): UNC-CH EHS Job Safety Analysis. Also, hands on training in the use of fall protection equipment is required. Fall protection training can either be administered by a knowledgeable and competent person at UNC-CH, or by an outside vendor that can give in class and hands on instruction in the use of fall protection equipment.It is the employees’ responsibility to check fall protective equipment before each use, and it is the supervisors’ responsibility to check fall protective equipment on a semi-annual basis. An inspection record should be kept of the fall protection equipment to ensure the harnesses and other equipment has been checked and that the equipment is deemed to be in good working condition. (i.e. Harnesses, lanyards, etc.) It is the supervisors’ responsibility to ensure that their employees are using all fall protective equipment in accordance with OSHA regulations. It is also the employees’ responsibility to use all fall protective equipment in accordance with OSHA regulations.

Duty to Have Fall Protection

(OSHA 1926.501)

A professional engineer shall determine if the walking/working surfaces on which its employees are to work have the strength and structural integrity to support employees safely. Employees shall be allowed to work on those surfaces only when the surfaces have the necessary strength and structural integrity to do so.

Unprotected Sides and Edges

Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.

Leading Edges

Each employee who is constructing a leading edge 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.

Exception: When the supervisor can demonstrate that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to use these systems, the supervisor shall develop and implement a fall protection plan which meets the requirements of OSHA 1926.502 (k).

Note: There is a presumption that it is feasible and will not create a greater hazard to implement at least one of the above-listed fall protection systems. Accordingly, it is the duty of the supervisor of establishing that it is appropriate to implement a fall protection plan which complies with OSHA 1926.502(k) for a particular workplace situation, in lieu of implementing any of those systems.

Each employee on a walking/working surface 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level where leading edges are under construction, but who is not engaged in the leading edge work, shall be protected from falling by a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system. If a guardrail system is chosen to provide the fall protection, and a controlled access zone has already been established for leading edge work, the control line may be used in the place of a guardrail along the edge that parallels the leading edge.

Hoist Areas

Each employee in a hoist area shall be protected from falling 6 feet (1.8 m) or more to lower levels by guardrail systems or personal fall arrest systems. If the guardrail system (example: chain, gate, or guardrail) or other parts are removed to facilitate the hoisting operation (example: during landing of materials), and an employee must lean through the access opening or out over the edge of the access opening to receive or guide equipment and materials, that employee shall be protected from fall hazards by a personal fall arrest system.

Holes

Each employee on walking/working surfaces shall be protected from falling through holes (including skylights) more than 6 feet (1.8 m) above lower levels by personal fall arrest systems, covers, or guardrail systems erected around these areas.

Each employee on a walking/working surface shall be protected from tripping in or stepping into or through holes (including skylights) by placing covers over the holes.

Each employee on a walking/working surface shall be protected from objects falling through holes (including skylights) by placing covers over the holes.

**More information about Hole Requirements can be found under the Guarding Floor and Wall Openings, and Holes Policy within the IMAC Manual.

Formwork and Reinforcing Steel

Each employee on the face of formwork or reinforcing steel shall be protected from falling 6 feet (1.8 m) or more to lower levels by personal fall arrest systems, safety net systems, or positioning device systems.

Ramps, Runways, and Other Walkways

Each employee on ramps, runways, and other walkways shall be protected from falling 6 feet (1.8 m) or more to lower levels by guardrail systems.

Excavations

Each employee at the edge of an excavation 6 feet (1.8 m) or more in depth shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, fences, or barricades when the excavations are not readily seen because of plant growth or other visual barrier;

Each employee at the edge of a well, pit, shaft, and similar excavation 6 feet (1.8 m) or more in depth shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, fences, barricades, or covers.

Dangerous Equipment

Each employee less than 6 feet (1.8 m) above dangerous equipment shall be protected from falling into or onto the dangerous equipment by guardrail systems or by equipment guards.

Each employee 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above dangerous equipment shall be protected from fall hazards by guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, or safety net systems.

Overhand Bricklaying and Related Work

Except as otherwise provided in this policy under Unprotected Sides and Edges through Walking Working Surfaces not Otherwise Addressed, each employee performing overhand bricklaying and related work 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels, shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or shall work in a controlled access zone.

Each employee reaching more than 10 inches (25 cm) below the level of the walking/working surface on which they are working is required to be protected from falling by a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system.

Note: Bricklaying operations performed on scaffolds are regulated by OSHA subpart L – Scaffolds of this part.

Roofing Work on Low-Slope Roofs

Except as otherwise provided in this policy under Unprotected Sides and Edges through Walking Working Surfaces not Otherwise Addressed, each employee engaged in roofing activities on low-slope roofs, with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or a combination of warning line system and guardrail system, warning line system and safety net system, or warning line system and personal fall arrest system, or warning line system and safety monitoring system. Or, on roofs 50-feet (15.25 m) or less in width (see Subpart M Appendix A), the use of a safety monitoring system alone (i.e. without the warning line system) is permitted.

Steep Roofs

Each employee on a steep roof with unprotected sides and edges 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems with toe boards, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.

Precast Concrete Erection

Each employee engaged in the erection of precast concrete members (including, but not limited to the erection of wall panels, columns, beams, and floor and roof “tees”) and related operations such as grouting of precast concrete members, who is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems, unless another provision in this policy under Unprotected Sides and Edges through Walking Working Surfaces not Otherwise Addressed of this section provides for an alternative fall protection measure.

Exception: When the supervisor can demonstrate that it is infeasible or creates a greater hazard to use these systems, the supervisor shall develop and implement a fall protection plan which meets the requirements of OSHA 1926.502 (k).

Note: There is a presumption that it is feasible and will not create a greater hazard to implement at least one of the above-listed fall protection systems. Accordingly, the supervisor has the burden of establishing that it is appropriate to implement a fall protection plan which complies with 1926.502(k) for a particular workplace situation, in lieu of implementing any of those systems.

Wall Openings

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 m) or more above lower levels and the inside bottom edge of the wall opening is less than 39 inches (1.0 m) above the walking/working surface, shall be protected from falling by the use of a guardrail system, a safety net system, or a personal fall arrest system.

Walking/Working Surfaces not Otherwise Addressed

Except as provided in OSHA 1926.500(a)(2) or in OSHA 1926.501 (b)(1) through (b)(14), each employee on a walking/working surface 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels shall be protected from falling by a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system.

Protection From Falling Objects

When an employee is exposed to falling objects, the supervisor shall have each employee wear a hard hat and shall implement one of the following measures:

  1. Erect toeboards, screens, or guardrail systems to prevent objects from falling from higher levels.
  2. Erect a canopy structure and keep potential fall objects far enough from the edge of the higher level so that those objects would not go over the edge if they were accidentally displaced.
  3. Barricade the area to which objects could fall, prohibit employees from entering the barricaded area, and keep objects that may fall far enough away from the edge of a higher level so that those objects would not go over the edge if they were accidentally displaced.

Fall Protection

(OSHA 1926.502)

Guardrail Systems

The top edge height of the top rails, or equivalent guardrail system members, shall be 42 inches (1.1 m) plus or minus 3 inches (8 cm) above the walking/working level. When conditions warrant, the height of the top edge may exceed the 45-inch height, provided the guardrail system meets all other criteria.

When employees are using stilts, the top edge height of the top rail or an equivalent guardrail system member is required to be increased an amount equal to the height of the stilts.

Midrails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, or equivalent intermediate structural members shall be installed between the top edge of the guardrail system and the walking/working surface when there is no wall or parapet wall of at least 21 inches (53 cm) high. Midrails shall be installed at a height midway between the top edge of the guardrail system and the walking/working level. (Example: If the top edge of the guardrail is 42 inches, then the midrail must be 21 inches.)

Screens and mesh, when used, shall 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 be not more than 19 inches (48 cm) apart. Other structural members (such as additional midrails and architectural panels) shall be installed so that there are no openings in the guardrail system that are more than 19 inches (.5 m) wide.

Guardrail systems shall be capable of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 200 pounds (890 N) applied within 2 inches (5.1 cm) of the top edge, in any outward or downward direction, at any point along the top edge. When the 200 pound (890 N) test load is applied in a downward direction, the top edge of the guardrail shall not deflect to a height less than 39 inches (1.0 m) above the walking/working level. Guardrail system components selected and constructed in accordance with the Subpart M Appendix B of this section are deemed to meet this requirement.

1926 Subpart M Appendix B

The standard requires guardrail systems and components to be designed and built to meet the requirements of 1926.502(b)(3), (4), and (5). This Appendix serves as a non-mandatory guideline to assist supervisors in complying with these requirements. The supervisor may use these guidelines as a starting point for designing guardrail systems. However, the guidelines do not provide all the information necessary to build a complete system, and the supervisor is still responsible for designing and assembling these components in such a way that the completed system will meet the requirements of 1926.502(b)(3), (4), and (5). Components for which no specific guidelines are given in this Appendix (e.g., joints, base connections, components made with other materials, and components with other dimensions) must also be designed and constructed in such a way that the completed system meets the requirements of 1926.502.

  1. For wood railings: Wood components shall be minimum 1500 lb-ft/in(2) fiber (stress grade) construction grade lumber; the posts shall be at least 2-inch by 4-inch (5 cm x 10 cm) lumber spaced not more than 8 feet (2.4 m) apart on centers; the top rail shall be at least 2-inch by 4-inch (5 cm x 10 cm) lumber, the intermediate rail shall be at least 1-inch by 6-inch (2.5 cm x 15 cm) lumber. All lumber dimensions are nominal sizes as provided by the American Softwood Lumber Standards, dated January 1970.
  2. For pipe railings: posts, top rails, and intermediate railings shall be at least one and one-half inches nominal diameter (schedule 40 pipe) with posts spaced not more than 8 feet (2.4 m) apart on centers.
  3. For structural steel railings: posts, top rails, and intermediate rails shall be at least 2-inch by 2-inch (5 cm x 10 cm) by 3/8-inch (1.1 cm) angles, with posts spaced not more than 8 feet (2.4 m) apart on centers.

Midrails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, solid panels, and equivalent structural members shall be capable of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 150 pounds (666 N) applied in any downward or outward direction at any point along the midrail or other member.

Guardrail systems shall be of a smooth surfaced material to prevent injury to an employee from punctures or lacerations, and to prevent snagging of clothing.

The ends of all top rails and midrails shall not overhang the terminal posts, except where overhang does not constitute a projection hazard.

Steel banding and plastic banding shall not be used as top rails or midrails.

Top rails and midrails shall be at least one-quarter inch (0.6 cm) nominal diameter or thickness to prevent cuts and lacerations. If wire rope is used for top rails, it shall be flagged at no more than 6-foot intervals with a high-visibility material.

When guardrail systems are used at hoisting areas, a chain, gate or removable guardrail section shall be placed across the access opening between guardrail sections when hoisting operations are not taking place.

When guardrail systems are used at holes, the guardrail system shall be erected on all unprotected sides or edges of the hole.

When guardrail systems are used around holes used for the passage of materials, the hole shall have not more than two sides provided with removable guardrail sections to allow the passage of materials. When the hole is not in use, it shall be closed over with a cover, or a guardrail system shall be provided along all unprotected sides or edges.

When guardrail systems are used around holes which are used as points of access (such as ladder ways), they shall be provided with a gate, or be so offset that a person cannot walk directly into the hole.

Guardrail systems used on ramps and runways shall be erected along each unprotected side or edge.

Manila, plastic or synthetic rope being used for top rails or midrails shall be inspected as frequently as necessary to ensure that it continues to meet the following strength requirements: Guardrail systems shall be capable of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 200 pounds (890 N) applied within 2 inches (5.1 cm) of the top edge, in any outward or downward direction, at any point along the top edge.

Safety Net Systems

Safety nets shall be installed as close as practicable under the walking/working surface on which employees are working, but in no case more than 30 feet (9.1 m) below such level. When nets are used on bridges, the potential fall area from the walking/working surface to the net shall be unobstructed.

Safety nets shall extend outward from the outermost projection of the work surface as follows:

Vertical Distance from Working Level to Horizontal Plane of Net Minimum Requird Horizontal distance of Outer Edge of Net from the Edge of the Working Surface
Up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) 8 feet (2.4 meters)
More than 5 feet (1.5 meters) up to 10 feet (3 meters) 10 feet (3 meters)
More than 10 feet (3 meters) 13 feet (3.9 meters)
Safety nets shall be installed with sufficient clearance under them to prevent contact with the surface or structures below when subjected to an impact force equal to the drop test of this section.

Safety nets and their installations shall be capable of absorbing an impact force equal to that produced by the drop test specified in this section.

Safety nets and safety net installations shall be drop-tested at the jobsite after initial installation and before being used as a fall protection system, whenever relocated, after major repair, and at 6-month intervals if left in one place. The drop-test shall consist of a 400 pound (180 kg) bag of sand 30 + or – 2 inches (76 + or – 5 cm) in diameter dropped into the net from the highest walking/working surface at which employees are exposed to fall hazards, but not from less than 42 inches (1.1 m) above that level.

A drop test is not needed when: The supervisor can demonstrate that it is unreasonable to perform the drop-test required by this section, the supervisor (or a designated competent person) shall certify that the net and net installation is in compliance with the provisions of this section by preparing a certification record prior to the net being used as a fall protection system.

The certification record must include:

  1. An identification of the net and net installation for which the certification record is being prepared.
  2. The date that it was determined that the identified net and net installation were in compliance with this section and the signature of the person making the determination and certification.
  3. The most recent certification record for each net and net installation shall be available at the jobsite for inspection.

Defective nets shall NOT be used under any circumstances.

Safety nets shall be:

  1. Inspected at least once a week for wear, damage, and other deterioration.
  2. Defective components shall be removed from service.
  3. Safety nets shall also be inspected after any occurrence which could affect the integrity of the safety net system.

Materials, scrap pieces, equipment, and tools which have fallen into the safety net shall be removed as soon as possible from the net and at least before the next work shift.

The maximum size of each safety net mesh opening shall not exceed 36 square inches (230 cm) nor be longer than 6 inches (15 cm) on any side, and the opening, measured center-to-center of mesh ropes or webbing, shall not be longer than 6 inches (15 cm). All mesh crossings shall be secured to prevent enlargement of the mesh opening.

Each safety net (or section of it) shall have a border rope for webbing with a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN).

Connections between safety net panels shall be as strong as integral net components and shall be spaced not more than 6 inches (15 cm) apart.

Personal Fall Arrest Systems

Effective January 1, 1998, body belts are not acceptable as part of a personal fall arrest system.

Note: The use of a body belt in a positioning device system is acceptable and is regulated under OSHA 1926.502(e) of the OSHA Fall Protection Standard.

Effective January 1, 1998, only locking type snaphooks shall be used.

Connectors shall be drop forged, pressed or formed steel, or made of equivalent materials.

Connectors shall have a corrosion-resistant finish, and all surfaces and edges shall be smooth to prevent damage to interfacing parts of the system.

Dee-rings and snaphooks shall have a minimum tensile strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN).

Dee-rings and snaphooks shall be proof-tested to a minimum tensile load of 3,600 pounds (16 kN) without cracking, breaking, or taking permanent deformation.

Unless the snaphook is a locking type and designed for the following connections, snaphooks shall not be engaged:

  1. Directly to webbing, rope or wire rope.
  2. To each other.
  3. To a dee-ring to which another snaphook or other connector is attached;
  4. To a horizontal lifeline.
  5. To any object which is incompatibly shaped or dimensioned in relation to the snaphook such that unintentional disengagement could occur by the connected object being able to depress the snaphook keeper and release itself.
  6. On suspended scaffolds or similar work platforms with horizontal lifelines which 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 personal fall arrest system, which maintains a safety factor of at least two.

Lanyards and vertical lifelines shall have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN).

When vertical lifelines are used, each employee shall be attached to a separate lifeline. This shall always be the practice except as provided in the below paragraph concerning work elevator shafts.

During the construction of elevator shafts, two employees may be attached to the same lifeline in the hoistway provided:

  1. Both employees are working atop a false car that is equipped with guardrails.
  2. The strength of the lifeline is 10,000 pounds (5,000 pounds per employee attached) (44.4 kN).
  3. All other criteria specified in this section for lifelines have been met.

Lifelines shall be protected against being cut or abraded.

Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards which automatically limit free fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 m) or less shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 3,000 pounds (13.3 kN) applied to the device with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position.

Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards which do not limit free fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 m) or less shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN). Rip-stitch lanyards, and tearing and deforming lanyards shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) which is applied to the device while 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 from synthetic fibers.

Anchorages used for attachment of personal fall arrest equipment shall be independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms and capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) per employee attached, or shall be designed, installed, and used as follows:

  1. As part of a complete personal fall arrest system which maintains a safety factor of at least two.
  2. Under the supervision of a qualified person.

Personal fall arrest systems, when stopping a fall, shall:

  1. Limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 900 pounds (4 kN) when used with a body belt.
  2. Limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 kN) when used with a body harness;
  3. Be rigged such that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 feet (1.8 m), nor contact any lower level.
  4. Bring an employee to a complete stop and limit maximum deceleration distance an employee travels to 3.5 feet (1.07 m); and,
  5. Have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of an employee free falling a distance of 6 feet (1.8 m), or the free fall distance permitted by the system, whichever is less.

Note: If the personal fall arrest system meets the criteria and protocols contained in Subpart M Appendix C, and if the system is being used by an employee having a combined person and tool weight of less than 310 pounds (140 kg). The system will be considered to be in compliance with the provisions of List 4 in this section.

Note: If the system is used by an employee having a combined tool and body weight of 310 pounds (140 kg) or more, then the supervisor must appropriately modify the criteria and protocols of Subpart M Appendix C to provide proper protection for such heavier weights, or the system will not be deemed to be in compliance with the requirements of the above list.

The attachment point of the body belt shall be located in the center of the wearer’s back. The attachment point of the body harness shall be located in the center of the wearer’s back near shoulder level, or above the wearer’s head.

Body belts, harnesses, and components shall be used only for employee protection (as part of a personal fall arrest system or positioning device system) and not to hoist materials.

Personal fall arrest systems and components subjected to impact loading shall be immediately removed from service and shall not be used again for employee protection until inspected and determined by a competent person to be undamaged and suitable for reuse.

The supervisor shall provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or shall assure that employees are able to rescue themselves.

Personal fall arrest systems shall be inspected prior to each use for wear, damage and other deterioration, and defective components shall be removed from service. (examples: Cuts, abrasions, loose fibers, tears, mold, oil/grease contact, etc.)

Note: ANSI A10.32-2004 states the service life of fall protection equipment manufactured of synthetic fiber shall be 5 years unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer.

Body belts shall be at least one and five-eighths (1 5/8) inches (4.1 cm) wide.

Personal fall arrest systems shall not be attached to guardrail systems, nor shall they be attached to hoists except as specified in other subparts of this Part.

When a personal fall arrest system is used at hoist areas, it shall be rigged to allow the movement of the employee only as far as the edge of the walking/working surface.

Positioning Device Systems

Positioning devices shall be rigged such that an employee cannot free fall more than 2 feet (.9 m).

Positioning devices 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 kN), whichever is greater.

Connectors shall be drop forged, pressed or formed steel, or made of equivalent materials.

Connectors shall have a corrosion-resistant finish, and all surfaces and edges shall be smooth to prevent damage to interfacing parts of this system.

Connecting assemblies shall have a minimum tensile strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN).

Dee-rings and snaphooks shall be proof-tested to a minimum tensile load of 3,600 pounds (16 kN) without cracking, breaking, or taking permanent deformation.

Only locking type snaphooks shall be used.

Unless the snaphook is a locking type and designed for the following connections, snaphooks shall not be engaged:

  1. Directly to webbing, rope or wire rope.
  2. To each other.
  3. To a dee-ring to which another snaphook or other connector is attached;
  4. To a horizontal lifeline.
  5. To any object which is incompatibly shaped or dimensioned in relation to the snaphook such that unintentional disengagement could occur by the connected object being able to depress the snaphook keeper and release itself.

Positioning device systems shall be inspected prior to each use for wear, damage, and other deterioration, and defective components shall be removed from service.

Body belts, harnesses, and components shall be used only for employee protection (as part of a personal fall arrest system or positioning device system) and not to hoist materials.

Warning Line Systems

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 m) from the roof edge.

When mechanical equipment is being used, the warning line shall be erected not less than 6 feet (1.8 m) from the roof edge which is parallel to the direction of mechanical equipment operation, and not less than 10 feet (3.1 m) 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 warning line, shall be placed across the path at the point where the path intersects the warning line erected around the work area, or 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:

  1. The rope, wire, or chain shall be flagged at not more than 6-foot (1.8 m) intervals with high-visibility material.
  2. The rope, wire, or chain shall be rigged and supported in such a way that its lowest point (including sag) is no less than 34 inches (.9 m) from the walking/working surface and its highest point is no more than 39 inches (1.0 m) from the walking/working surface.
  3. 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 N) applied horizontally against the stanchion, 30 inches (.8 m) above the walking/working surface, perpendicular to the warning line, and in the direction of the floor, roof, or platform edge.
  4. The rope, wire, or chain shall have a minimum tensile strength of 500 pounds (2.22 kN), and after being attached to the stanchions, shall be capable of supporting, without breaking, the loads applied to the stanchions as prescribed in List 1: #3 of this section.
  5. 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.

Controlled Access Zones

When used to control access to areas where leading edge and other operations are taking place, the controlled access zone shall be defined by a control line or by any other means that restricts access.

When control lines are used, they shall be erected not less than 6 feet (1.8 m) nor more than 25 feet (7.7 m) from the unprotected or leading edge, except when erecting precast concrete members.

When erecting precast concrete members, the control line shall be erected not less than 6 feet (1.8 m) nor more than 60 feet (18 m) or half the length of the member being erected, whichever is less, from the leading edge.

The control line shall extend along the entire length of the unprotected or leading edge and shall be approximately parallel to the unprotected or leading edge.

The control line shall be connected on each side to a guardrail system or wall.

When used to control access to areas where overhand bricklaying and related work are taking place:

The controlled access zone shall be defined by a control line erected not less than 10 feet (3.1 m) nor more than 15 feet (4.5 m) from the working edge.

The control line shall extend for a distance sufficient for the controlled access zone to enclose all employees performing overhand bricklaying and related work at the working edge and shall be approximately parallel to the working edge.

Additional control lines shall be erected at each end to enclose the controlled access zone.

Only employees engaged in overhand bricklaying or related work shall be permitted in the controlled access zone.

Control lines shall consist of ropes, wires, tapes, or equivalent materials, and supporting stanchions as follows:

  1. Each line shall be flagged or otherwise clearly marked at not more than 6-foot (1.8 m) intervals with high-visibility material.
  2. Each line shall be rigged and supported in such a way that its lowest point (including sag) is not less than 39 inches (1 m) from the walking/working surface and its highest point is not more than 45 inches (1.3 m) [50 inches (1.3 m) when overhand bricklaying operations are being performed] from the walking/working surface.
  3. Each line shall have a minimum breaking strength of 200 pounds (.88 kN).

On floors and roofs where guardrail systems are not in place prior to the beginning of overhand bricklaying operations, controlled access zones shall be enlarged, as necessary, to enclose all points of access, material handling areas, and storage areas.

On floors and roofs where guardrail systems are in place, but need to be removed to allow overhand bricklaying work or leading edge work to take place, only that portion of the guardrail necessary to accomplish that day’s work shall be removed.

Safety Monitoring Systems

The supervisor shall designate a competent person to monitor the safety of other employees and the supervisor shall ensure that the safety monitor complies with the following requirements:

  • The safety monitor shall and must 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 also be close enough to orally communicate with the employee.
  • 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 roofs.
  • 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.
  • Each employee working in a controlled access zone shall be directed and will be required to comply promptly with fall hazard warnings issued by the safety monitors.

Covers

Covers located in roadways and vehicular aisles shall be capable of supporting, without failure, at least twice the maximum axle load of the largest vehicle expected to cross over the cover.

All other covers shall be capable of supporting, without failure, at least twice the weight of employees, equipment, and materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one time.

All covers shall be secured when installed so as to prevent accidental displacement by the wind, equipment, or employees.

All covers shall be color coded or they shall be marked with the word “HOLE” or “COVER” to provide warning of the hazard.

Note: This provision does not apply to cast iron manhole covers or steel grates used on streets or roadways.

Protection from Falling Objects

Toeboards, when used as falling object protection, shall be erected along the edge of the overhead walking/working surface for a distance sufficient to protect employees below.

Toeboards shall be capable of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 50 pounds (222 N) applied in any downward or outward direction at any point along the toeboard.

Toeboards shall be a minimum of 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) in vertical height from their top edge to the level of the walking/working surface. They shall have not more than 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) clearance above the walking/working surface.

They shall be a solid material or have openings that are not over 1 inch (2.5 cm) in greatest dimension.

Where tools, equipment, or materials are piled higher than the top edge of a toeboard, paneling or screening shall 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.

Guardrail systems, when used as falling object protection, shall have all openings small enough to prevent passage of potential falling objects.

During the performance of overhand bricklaying and related work:

  1. No materials or equipment except masonry and mortar shall be stored within 4 feet (1.2 m) of the working edge.
  2. Excess mortar, broken or scattered masonry units, and all other materials and debris shall be kept clear from the work area by removal at regular intervals.

During the performance of roofing work:

  1. Materials and equipment shall not be stored within 6 feet (1.8 m) of a roof edge unless guardrails are erected at the edge.
  2. Materials which are piled, grouped, or stacked near a roof edge shall be stable and self-supporting.

Canopies, when used as falling object protection, shall be strong enough to prevent collapse and to prevent penetration by any objects which may fall onto the canopy.

Training Program

(OSHA 1926.503)

Training

UNC-CH shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.

The supervisor shall assure that each employee has been trained, as necessary, by a competent person qualified in the following areas:

  1. The nature of fall hazards in the work area.
  2. The correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, disassembling, and inspecting the fall protection systems to be used.
  3. The use and operation of guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, safety net systems, warning line systems, safety monitoring systems, controlled access zones, and other protection to be used.
  4. The role of each employee in the safety monitoring system when this system is used.
  5. The limitations on the use of mechanical equipment during the performance of roofing work on low-sloped roofs.
  6. The correct procedures for the handling and storage of equipment and materials and the erection of overhead protection.
  7. The role of employees in fall protection plans.
  8. The standards contained in this subpart.

Certification of Training

The supervisor shall verify compliance with the list above by preparing a written certification record. The written certification record shall contain:

  1. The name or other identity of the employee trained.
  2. The information that was covered in the training.
  3. The date(s) of the training.
  4. The signature of the person who conducted the training or the signature of the supervisor.

The most current training certification is required to be maintained.

Retraining

When the supervisor has reason to believe that any affected employee who has already been trained does not have the understanding and skill required by the list above, the supervisor shall retrain each employee.

Circumstances where retraining is required include, but are not limited to, situations where:

  1. An incident in the workplace has occurred that is associated with fall protection.
  2. Changes in the workplace render previous training obsolete.
  3. Changes in the types of fall protection systems or equipment to be used render previous training obsolete.
  4. Inadequacies in an affected employee’s knowledge or use of fall protection systems or equipment indicate that the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill.