The OSHA website (www.osha.gov) contains a variety of information on numerous safety and health topics. One of the most helpful improvements to the OSHA webpage is the addition of a set of electronic training tools, “eTools”. eTools are stand-alone, interactive, Web-based training tools that provide guidance information for the development of a comprehensive safety and health program. Therefore, they include elements that go beyond specific OSHA mandates, such as recommendations for good industry practice.
One of the eTools that sheetmetal and HVAC companies would find helpful is the eTool for Construction safety (http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/construction/index.html). This part of the webpage offers guidance on several key topics including fall protection.
Below is a sample of the information on the Construction - Falls eTool webpage:
How Do I Avoid Hazards? • Use at least one of the following whenever employees are exposed to a fall of 6 feet or more above a lower level: o Guardrail Systems o Safety Net Systems o Fall Arrest Systems
• Cover or guard floor holes as soon as they are created during new construction.
• For existing structures, survey the site before working and continually audit as work continues. Guard or cover any openings or holes immediately.
• Construct all floor hole covers so they will effectively support two times the weight of employees, equipment, and materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one time.
• In general, it is better to use fall prevention systems, such as guardrails, than fall protection systems, such as safety nets or fall arrest devices, because they provide more positive safety means.
Many sheetmetal contractors would benefit by the information on the OSHA website and SMACNA encourages all of our members to use this excellent resource.