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Golitko & Daly

Indianapolis Construction Accident Lawyer Presents: Deadly Falls Could Be the Result of a Lack of Guardrails and Safety Nets

By John Daly on July 22, 2016

A construction worker at dawnThe lawyers of Golitko & Daly fight hard for every one of their clients. Serving the greater Indianapolis area, we have assisted injury victims and their loved ones in legal matters related to construction accidents and injuries.

Falls are a common hazard at construction sites. Let's look at the use of fall protection at work places and why it is so important to have fall protection in place.

The Importance of Fall Protection

Major falls are a leading cause of accidents and injuries at construction sites and industrial workplaces. It should come as no surprise. Working on buildings or from any sort of height means the potential for a fall. The higher the fall, the greater likelihood of lasting injury and perhaps even death.

Even relatively small falls can lead to lacerations, contusions, fractures, and potential joint and spine injuries that can have long-lasting effects.

OSHA Guidelines on Fall Protection

OSHA has special fall protection guidelines in place to address these matters. Any time there is a drop of 6 or more feet, at least one of the three following types of fall protection must be present:

  • Guardrails must be placed around the potential falling hazard
  • Safety nets must be placed to catch people who may fall
  • A fall arrest system should be available to each employee

Let's consider safety nets and guardrails in more detail.

Guardrails at Steep Edges

OSHA has recommendations and guidelines when it comes to the use of guardrails at a work site should they be used for fall protection.

  • The topmost portion of a guardrail should be between 39 and 45 inches tall

  • A midrail or screen of some kind should be in place beneath the topmost rail

  • The guardrail system should be free from sharp or jagged edges that could cause injury or clothing to become snagged

  • The guardrail system's top edge should be able to withstand at least 200 pounds of force

  • The guardrail system's midrail or screen should be able to withstand at least 150 pounds of force

More detailed information on guardrail standards can be found at the OSHA website, but this offers a solid idea of the basics for this form of fall protection.

Safety Nets Can Save Lives

OSHA has recommendations and guidelines when it comes to the use of safety nets at a work site should they be used for fall protection.

  • Safety nets should be placed no lower than 30 feet below the area in which workers are present

  • Fall areas of the safety should be unobstructed when working on a bridge

  • Safety nets should be able to withstand the drop of a 400 pound bag of sand that falls from the highest point of a work site where employees face a fall hazard

  • Safety nets must be inspected weekly for wear and damage

More detailed information on safety net standards can be found at the OSHA website, but again, this offers a solid idea of the basics for this form of fall protection.

Keep Your Construction Site Safe

Knowing these safety issues and the importance of fall protection, it is imperative that you work with your bosses and fellow employees to keep your work site as safe as possible. Good fall protection can save lives. When a fall occurs at a work site, however, you can count on our legal experts for help.

Speak with the Attorneys of Golitko & Daly

To learn more about your legal options following a serious work injury, it's of the utmost importance that you contact our constructions and industrial work attorneys today. The team at Golitko & Daly will help you in your time of legal need.

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