During the summer months, roofing and construction jobs pick up and more workers are exposed to potential falls. Oregon OSHA reminds contractors they can be cited for not protecting employees from a fall.
"It’s important for contractors to know there is a requirement to be protected from falls when working at heights of 10 feet or more," said Gary Beck, Oregon OSHA's safety enforcement manager. "Even if you feel safe and don't think there's much of a risk, you still need to be protected from a potential fall."
Employees working near open windows, doors, mezzanines, balconies, or walkways at six feet or above the lower level also need to be protected from falling.
Last year, an employee was installing a tarp on an unfinished roof without fall protection. When he stepped onto the other side of the roof, he slipped and fell 15 feet to the lower ground, suffering a broken/fractured back.
In a separate Oregon case that occurred in September 2012, an employee was doing roofing work on a two-story residence. The worker was walking along the roof ridge when he tripped on an air hose and slid, rolling approximately 18 feet down and off the run of the 7:12 pitch roof. He was also seriously injured with a broken/fractured hip.
Under Oregon OSHA's fall protection rule (OAR 437-003-1501) there are different ways to comply, such as guardrails, catch platforms, and personal fall arrest systems. More details can be found online under "fall protection" in the A-Z topic list. Federal OSHA also has training tools and posters available to help raise awareness around falls.
A contractor in St. Helens was cited for not protecting employees from a 19-foot fall to the concrete below. The workers were removing moss and also had not been trained in the proper use of fall protection.
Photo: Jeff Wilson
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For general information, technical answers, or information about Oregon OSHA services, please call 503-378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, 800-922-2689.