Toolbox Talk: Falls: General Protection and Awareness

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CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

The CPWR Toolbox Talk on Guardrails: General Fall Protection and Awareness addresses the risks associated with working near unguarded platforms. The resource includes a ‘real-life’ case example, steps to prevent a related injury or illness, and questions for discussion. It includes an image (page 2) that illustrates the hazard, which can be posted in a central location as a reminder of steps to work safely.   Click on the following links to access the English version and the Spanish version. (English) (Español)

https://www.cpwr.com/publications/toolbox-talks

CPWR Toolbox Talk logoFalls are the leading cause of injuries at work sites. Falls can occur from ladders, scaffolding, vehicles, heavy equipment, aerial lifts, openings, platforms, and roofs.

 

Here is an Example

A supervisor and three employees were placing air handler units on a third floor mezzanine during a building remodel. The supervisor was using a wheeled pry bar to lift the air handler up so the workers could place a 2-inch galvanized pipe under the air handler to serve as a roller. The supervisor was in an area about a foot from the unguarded edge and applying pressure to the pry bar toward the unguarded edge, when the pry bar slipped. The supervisor lost his balance and fell 23 feet to the cement below, causing his death.

  1. How could the fatality have been prevented?
  2. What safety precautions should the individual have taken? What precautions should the company have taken?

Fall Protection

  • Guardrails are required on work surfaces when workers are exposed to falls over six feet.
  • Guardrail must be 42 inches high. A mid-rail is required.
  • The fall protection training program must cover the recognition of potential fall hazards at the workplace for the employee.
  • Body harnesses with lanyards and secure attachment points are used when guard rails cannot be provided.

What Are We Going to Do Today?

What will we do here at the worksite today to prevent injuries due to lack of fall protection?

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2.____________________________________________________________

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3.____________________________________________________________

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OSHA REGULATIONS: 1926.501 and 1926.503

Graphic of a worker on an elevated surface within a guardrail.

  • Guardrails are required on work surfaces when workers are exposed to falls over six feet.
  • Guardrail must be 42 inches high. A mid-rail is required.
  • Body harnesses with lanyards and secure attachment points are used when guard rails cannot be provided.