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Choosing the Proper Safety Equipment for Fall Protection on the Construction Job Site

Choosing construction safety equipment for the job site is always an important decision-making and purchasing process for Florida contractors and project managers. Falls on the job site kill hundreds of construction workers each year, and as a contractor or employer, this can leave you responsible if proper guidelines are not followed.

According to a study, falls from roofs account for 1/3 of all construction-related falls. Personal fall arrest systems, also known as harnesses, could prevent many of those falls.

OSHA fall protection

According to OSHA research and statistics, there were 937 fatal falls in 2015, 364 of which were falls. This does not include many other falls in which the person was injured but not killed by the fall. Fall protection is the number one most-frequently cited OSHA violation. You can view the OSHA fall protection page here, which includes incident and compliance reports. OSHA has implemented a three-step process that construction contractors and managers should use to combat the problem of falls on the job site.
  1. Plan: When working on ladders, scaffolding, roofs, or other high places, employers should plan ahead to ensure that all precautions are taken to avoid falls.
  2. Provide: All necessary safety equipment, including well-fitted personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), should be provided before employees begin work in areas that have the risk of falls.
  3. Train: Equipment is useless if workers don't know how to use it, so proper training should be provided for all workers before they use fall protection equipment.
Power Bolt and Tool provides a wide variety of safety equipment to contractors and job site project managers. The inventory of safety equipment and tools is one of the most comprehensive sources for construction supplies Florida has to offer.

Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS)

When it comes to fall protection, Power Bolt and Tool provides the best OSHA-compliant fall protection systems available. Harnesses are available in a variety of sizes to ensure proper fitting.

The three key system components of PFAS are:

  • Body Wear: A properly-fitted and properly-connected harness.
  • Anchorage: The tie-off point, which must be strong enough to hold the worker's weight if a fall incident were to occur.
  • Connecting Device: The strap that links the anchorage to the body wear.

There are four functional equipment categories:

  • Fall Arrest: PFAS that should be used when working at heights of four feet or higher.
  • Positioning/Restraint: PFAS allows a hands-free working environment at elevated heights. Also used to restrain workers to prevent contact with hazardous materials or other contaminants in the work zone.
  • Suspension: Workers wearing this PFAS can be lowered and raised; for instance, in cases of window washing and painting.
  • Retrieval: This system is used to lower workers into confined spaces such as manholes or tanks in order to retrieve something or someone.

For more information about PFAS, please check out the Power Bolt and Tool Fall Protection Guide.

Knowledge is the key to safety

Step 3 of OSHA's fall protection guidelines is critical. If an employee doesn't know how to properly use construction safety equipment, this can be a safety issue. An improperly fitted harness can be just as bad as not wearing one, perhaps even worse as the worker will have a false sense of security.

Power Bolt and Tool provides instructions for all fall protection systems, and both contractors and employees should become familiar with the instructions and warnings before attempting to use the equipment. Please see "6 Easy Steps That Could Save Your Life" for a harness sizing chart, and the exact steps to properly don a harness.

Safety should always be a top priority on the job site, and a well-trained worker using the right equipment is a safe worker. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact the professionals at Power Bolt and Tool today.
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