OSHA Reminder of the Importance of Fall Protection Equipment
Prevent Tragedy When Removing Snow from Rooftops & Elevated Surfaces
As the winter weather worsens and the temperatures drop, there is no time more important than now to ALWAYS use proper fall protection equipment while working at heights. And yes this includes tasks like removing snow and ice from rooftops and elevated surfaces. Not only do you have to deal with working at heights, but the addition of inclement weather posses a number of other safety ricks including: icy surfaces, frigid temperatures, and uncertain dangers under the snow…
“OSHA reminds workers, employers and the public in general to take precautions and to be aware that snow removal can be hazardous. Safety must be a number one priority,” said David Kearns, OSHA’s area director in Boise. “As people work to remove snow from roofs and other elevated surfaces, proper fall protection is essential. With these safeguards, falls are wholly preventable. Despite these warnings, falls remain the leading cause of serious injuries and deaths during snow removal.”
The Best Plan of Action is Always Plan Ahead
Before the snow even starts to accumulate, you should already have a plan of action in place. This plan of action should include what you need to remove the snow safely, safety precautions, and a safe way to remove the snow & ice. Some important questions you should be asking yourself while putting together this plan are:
- Can the snow / ice be removed from the ground?
- What areas on the roof could become hidden hazards and pose as safety a threat? (skylights, roof drains, vents…)
- What is the best way to remove the snow / ice from the roof to prevent unbalanced loading?
- What is the maximum load limit of the roof itself? Will it be able to handle the snow / ice, workers, & removal equipment?
- What fall & personal protection equipment, clothing & tools will you need for the job?
- Do the workers need any training to remove snow / ice safely?
- How will the workers & removal equipment be safely brought up to the roof?
- What precautions will be put in place to protect people on the ground during the removal process?
Always Use the Required Fall Protection Equipment. Every time.
Slips and falls are the leading cause of deaths and severe injuries that occur during snow / ice removal jobs. OSHA has standards in place that require employers to evaluate hazards and protect their workers from falls accordingly. OSHA Standard 1910.23 for workers working at heights of 4 feet or more above a lower level. As well as, OSHA Standard 1926.501 for workers working 6 feet or more for construction work.
- Workers are trained on the proper use of the fall protection equipment being used and fall hazards. (1910.132(f)(1) and 1926.503(a)(1))
- Workers are provided and use the proper fall protection equipment when working in area that are not adequately guarded, such as, guardrail systems or covers. (STD 01-01-013 and 1926.501(b))
- Workers that are wearing personal fall protection equipment properly don their harness and that they are properly secured before accessing the roof.
- There is a proper plan in place in case a worker is caught by a fall protection system. (1926.502(d)(20))
- To remove or clearly mark out and potential trip hazards that workers may encounter while working.
Protect Yourself with Only the Best
Now that you know the importance of wearing the proper fall protection and personal protection equipment while removing snow / ice from roofs and elevated surfaces. Its time to get yourself some of the necessary equipment so you can now work safely and effectively. Shop for Safety & PPE products now.
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