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Protect Yourself When Using Guardrails

Exterior Bracket Scaffolding with Guardrails
Exterior Bracket Scaffolding with Guardrails
Fall Protection - OSHA

Guardrails are a protection in the construction industry. They protect you from falls that can seriously injure or even kill. The amounts of protection guardrails provide depends on the type of project and how they are constructed and maintained. Some guardrails come with readymade stairs or scaffolding. Most guardrails are built of strong materials (wood, metal, etc.) and are usually solid when first put up. As time goes by, however, guardrails often are abused, weakened, broken, or moved and not replaced.

In some construction sites, I have witnessed missing or weakened guardrails. Sometimes sections of guardrails must be taken down so that materials or equipment can be brought in. These sections often aren't replaced or if they are, they're hastily thrown back up just to save time and effort. Weakened guardrails are sometimes more dangerous than no guardrails at all because they are not checked regularly and they give a false sense of security.

In order to protect yourself and employees from guardrail accidents or injuries who have to use these them, these safety tips can be utilized
1. Daily inspect and document guardrails. If you discover a weakened or a missing section, correct the situation immediately. Otherwise, report it so that the hazard can be eliminated.
2. If a guardrail has been bumped with material or equipment, check it at once to see if it may have been weakened. If it has been discovered that a guardrail has been damaged, bent or broken repair it immediately. Otherwise, report it immediately or closed the area for use so that the hazard can be repaired.
3. When exposed to repairing or replacing guardrails at an elevated level, remember to follow the CalOSHA/OSHA fall protection regulations if necessary using the required safety equipment that could include a safety harness, landyards, etc).you're exposed to the very danger that you are providing protection against. Perhaps you should be using a safety belt and lanyard.
4. Provide training and discussion with employees regarding guardrail safety and awareness at toolbox meetings.

Guardrails are a protection in the construction industry. They protect you from falls that can seriously injure or even kill. Always Protect Yourself When Using Guardrails.

References:

OSHA Guidance Fall Protection Document
https://www.osha.gov/doc/guidance.html

OSHA Prevention Video Fall Protection – Guardrails & Floor Covering
In English and Spanish.
https://www.osha.gov/dts/vtools/construction/falls_floor_fnl_eng_web.html

Copyrighted by Matthew J. Key from his forthcoming book "The Safety Corner".