Rigging hardware

Construction sites are among the most dangerous workplaces there are, and the federal government, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has made fall protection a particular area of focus. Basically, OSHA requires a fall arrest device for any worker who is anywhere from 4 to 8 feet off the ground, depending on the industry and type of job. These fall arrest devices can be of two types: general fall devices, which usually consist of netting to prevent falls or catch workers before they fall too far, or personal fall protection devices such as web slings or chain slings. Which are used can depend on the type of project and site as well as the company and worker preferences.

Safety nets usually are used on buildings where there is no scaffolding or temporary floors and the distance to fall is greater than a couple of floors. Such a device often is a last resort to protect workers from serious and fatal injuries from long falls. Safety nets usually aren’t used by themselves but are used in concert with other fall protection devices, such as rigging equipment, web slings and other devices.

Web slings and other such fall protection devices keep a worker tethered to a certain section of the building he is working on. This might be the side of the building or a part of the unfinished open floor. If the workers are using equipment such as scaffolding, then the riggings or slings will be tethered to that.

To be able to use fall protection equipment properly and protect their workers, companies need to go through training. OSHA fall protection training or other fall protection courses can greatly reduce the number of falls on job sites and reduce injuries. Though it does cost money to do the training, if it prevents one accident that would have caused a serious injury, then it is a good investment, because the liability for the company in terms of workmen’s comp and potential fines from OSHA can be large.

Continued emphasis on safety in the construction industry over the past 40 or 50 years has greatly brought down the rate of injuries and deaths, and dedicating yourself to fall protection for your workers will help keep your injury rates low.

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