The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has developed a three-step safety process:
Adhering to OSHA guidelines makes a profound difference in workplace and employee safety.
There are industry-specific fall protection guidelines provided by OSHA. They are as follows:
- General industry workplaces: four feet
- Shipyards: five feet
- Construction industry: six feet
- Longshoring operations:eight feet
In order to protect workers, employers need to provide the proper equipment to perform their jobs. When working on construction sites, for example, OSHA fall protection training specifies that when these heights are above six feet, personnel need to have the appropriate ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear.
When working at greater heights, such as those above 25 feet, then safety nets need to be used. This is particularly important when floors and scaffolds are not in place.
In addition to fall protection equipment such as nets, lifelines are also used in certain circumstances. When testing all fall arrest systems, OSHA specifies that 300 pounds, with a five-pound variation plus or minus, is standard protocol.
Proper material handling and storage protocols also need to be strictly followed. When bags, containers, bundles, and other materials are stored in tiers, they need to be handled in the following ways:
Furthermore, height limitations need to be observed to ensure storage stability. When supplies are properly handled, the possibility for sliding or collapse is avoided.
Storage supply areas also need to be kept free of debris and anything else that could cause a hazard, such as tripping. This includes any materials that could potentially cause a fire as well as food and beverages that might attract pests.
When working on sites where there are open pits, tanks, vats, and ditches, for example, guard rails and/or covers need to be provided. Caution signs and other forms of labeling are also standard protocol.
If mechanical equipment is used for material handling, then aisles need to be present to ensure there is sufficient and safe clearance. Loading docks, through doorways, and other passageways need to be kept clear.
These areas also need to be kept well-maintained, in good repair, and free from obstruction. When a business or work site has permanent passageways or aisles, then these need to be marked accordingly.