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Working @ Heights PDF Version

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Build it Smart

This material was produced under grant 46K1-HT18 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. It does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Table of Contents

    Steps in Risk Assessment
    Recognizing Hazards
    Daily Preplanning
    Preplanning Checklist
    Fall Protection for Hazardous Exposures
    Safe Work Practice Guidelines
    Eliminate Structure Collapse
    Eliminate Scaffold, Scissor lift, or Boom
    Supported Work Platform Collapse or Tip over
    Eliminate Derrick, or Crane Collapse, Tip Over or Failure
    Eliminate Ladders Collapse or Failure
    Eliminate Slipping & Tripping Hazards
    Eliminate Falling Objects and Falls
    Eliminate Unguarded Edges Hazards,
    Lighting and Weather Related Hazards
    Eliminate Electrical Hazards
    High Voltage Safe Distance Chart

Steps in Reviewing the Hazards Associated with Working @ Heights

Risk Assessment-
Identify potential Fall Hazards using the Preplanning Checklist
    Hazard Analysis - Exposure avoidance and control techniques
    Fall Hazard Controls - Employee awareness & communication (preplanning and coordination) ,Protection systems
    Fall Restraint - Guard rails, travel restraint systems
    Fall Arrest - Personal arrest systems, safety nets, lifeline systems- vertical and horizontal walk line requirements
    Anchor Requirements - Restraint versus arrest, temporary versus permanent
    Procedure Development - Safe Work Practice Guidelines
Recognizing Hazards

Consider Hazardous Falls
  • Falls at the same level
  • Falls against an object
  • Falls from vehicles/equipment
  • Falls from stairs, ladders and ramps
  • Falls from one work level to another
  • Falls into/through openings
Underlying Causes of Falls
  • Reaching beyond the work surface
  • Poor housekeeping
  • Walking off unguarded edge
  • Carrying objects
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Climbing onto or from work surface
  • Using machinery or equipment
  • Weather conditions: heat, rain, ice, and/or winds
Daily Preplanning

Existing and potential height related hazards and exposures to falls

1) Why is this a hazard?
2) How do we abate or minimize the hazard?

1) Risks you impose on others and risk others impose on you
2) Risks of your trade and the risks of the trades around you

If you see a hazard, see it gets fixed. SILENCE IS CONSENT!

Preplanning Checklist

Excavations ______
Scaffolds/ladders ______
Ramps, runways, and walkways ______
Crane supported work platforms ______
Aerial platforms ______
Temporary work platforms ______
Welding, decking, bolting ______
Roofing and roof openings ______
Siding/sheeting ______
Wall openings ______
Boom & scissor lifts ______
Steel erection, welding, bolting ______
Flooring ______
Elevator openings ______
Stairwells ______
Forming, pouring, stripping concrete columns/walls ______
Perimeter/leading edge activities ______
Weather ______

Fall Protection Options for Hazardous Exposures
    Working Over Dangerous Equipment: guard rail system—safety net system—personal fall arrest system
    Excavations: guard rail system—fences—barricades
    Floor/Roof Openings: hole covers—guard rail system— personal fall arrest system—all restraint system
    Formwork and Reinforcing Steel: safety net system— personal fall arrest system—positioning system
    Hoist Areas: guard rail system—safety net system— personal fall arrest system—fall restraint system
    Holes Covers: guard rail system—safety net system— personal fall arrest system—fall restraint system
    Leading Edge: guard rail system—safety net system— personal fall arrest system—fall restraint system—fall protection
    Over-head Work: guard rail system—safety net system—personal fall arrest system—controlled access zone
    Precast Concrete Erection: guard rail system—safety net system—personal fall arrest system—fall protection plan
    Roofing Work: guard rail system—safety net system— personal fall arrest system—safety monitor system— warning line with guard rail or safety net OR personal fall protection or fall restraint system
    Unprotected Sides and Edges: guard rail system— safety net system—personal fall arrest system—fall restraint system
    Ramps, Runways, Walkways: guard rail system— personal fall arrest system—safety net system Wall
    Openings: guard rail system—safety net system— personal fall arrest system—fall restraint system
Safe Work Practice Guidelines

Eliminate Structure Collapse
    Follow erection sequence
    Install all temporary and permanent bracing
    Remember bracing provides no value until both ends are connected
    Leave all bracing in place until it can be safely removed
    Keep erection within limits of bolts, welding and other fasteners
    Do not over-load
    On multiple story structures, check the status of the floor you are loading to ensure it can easily accommodate the anticipated load
    Once plumb and square, install and secure bridging before loading, to eliminate possibility of collapse
Safe Work Practice Guidelines

Eliminate Scaffold Collapse

All pieces before erecting
All components before getting on any scaffold
Over-head anchors before each shift

Build base on level, solid surface to withstand weight
Consider and construct for wind loads
Follow erection procedures and manufacturers specifications Install bracing and out riggers
Travel only on level surfaces

Do Not:
Climb on bracing
Use damaged or faulty planks or other components

Eliminate Scissor Lift & Boom Supported Work Platform Tip-Over or Collapse
  • Do not over-load
  • Be aware of all sources of electrical power
  • Be alert for surface penetration covers
  • Stay clear of workers, ladders, and scaffolds
  • Use caution when attaching anything that could get caught (Cords, hoses, etc.)
Eliminate Derrick Collapse or Failure
  • Use qualified operators
  • Use qualified signal persons
  • Do not over-load
  • Ensure derrick flooring is adequately fastened
  • Inspect all parts daily
  • Refuse to use damaged derrick
Eliminate Crane Collapse, Failure or Tip-Over
  • Use qualified operators
  • Use qualified signal persons
  • Do not over-load
  • Travel only within manufacture's limits
  • Inspect parts daily
  • Refuse to use damaged crane
  • Place outriggers on solid support
Eliminate Ladder Collapse or Failure
  • Inspect daily
  • Do not over-load
  • Keep feet of ladder at even levels
  • Use the proper ladder for the job
Eliminate Slipping & Tripping Hazards
  • Maintain good housekeeping
  • Look for and remove nuts, washers, cords, rope & tools
  • Keep loose parts and pieces in secure containers or non hazardous area
  • Clean up and properly dispose of left over materials
  • Pay attention to work surfaces; for mud, sand, water or ice
  • Clean up oil, grease, paint, fireproofing, & dust
  • Keep angle of the ladder within prescribed limits
  • Secure ladders to prevent slipping
  • Where possible, secure top and or bottom of ladder
  • Do not splice together short ladders to make a longer ladder
  • Destroy and discard damaged ladders
  • When in traffic areas barricade or tape off the area
  • Do not use the top two steps on step ladders
Eliminate Falling Objects
  • Maintain good housekeeping
  • Dispose of left over materials
  • Secure materials, tools, parts on hoists
  • Eliminate over-head work of welders and burners—when unavoidable every effort to catch the fire must be made
  • Preplan for catching slag and fire
Eliminate Falls Through Roofs or Floor Openings
  • Barricade holes before removing covers
  • Use appropriate fall protection equipment
  • Highlight all barricade hazards with signs
  • Cover holes with clearly marked covers
Eliminate Unguarded Edges Hazards
  • Preplan for leading edge work at unprotected edge, side, or openings in floors, roofs, ramps, or runways where there is no guard rail system in place
  • Use appropriate fall protection equipment
Eliminate Lighting Hazards
  • Preplan to limit exposures in non-daylight hours
  • Use good lighting to illuminate work areas, pathways, corridors, hall ways, working platforms
  • Have a supply of flashlights
Eliminate Weather Related Hazards
  • Keep work areas cleared, dry, sanded, covered, barricaded, or protected
  • Use temporary bracing
  • Use personal protective equipment
Eliminate Electrical Hazards
  • Instruct crew members on location of all sources of electrical power and proper work practices including that equipment must be grounded or double insulated
  • Tag, barricade and post warning signs in hazardous areas
  • Watch distances when transporting ladders, or scaffolds, or other materials
  • Flag roof mounted weather heads to prevent tripping or falling over power lines
Preplanning for Safety

Minimum Safe Distance From High Voltage

Power line voltage
Phase to phase (kV)
Minimum safe clearance (feet)
50 or below 10
Above 50 to 200 15
Above 200 to 350 20
Above 350 to 500 25
Above 500 to 750 35
Above 750 to 1,000 45


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