With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. OSHA is a part of the United States Department of Labor.
OSHA requires employers to protect workers from falls. Falls can cause death and very serious injuries -and can be prevented. OSHA’s fall protection requirements are as follows: for general industry, fall protection must be used while working at heights of four or more feet. In maritime, specifically ship repair, fall protection is required at five feet or greater on vessels, and longshoring operations generally require fall protection at eight feet or greater. Fall protection can be accomplished through the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or similar systems.
For construction operations, fall protection generally must be used at heights of six feet or greater. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Fall protection can be accomplished through the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. Certain worksite activities and/or locations may allow other methods (including, but not limited to positioning device systems, warning line systems, and controlled access zones) to be used. For further information on OSHA’s requirements for protecting workers from falls, please see OSHA’s Fall Prevention Web page.