The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires railings as a form of fall protection for workers when there are holes in the walls or floors, or there is a possibility that a worker can fall from one level to the level below. It is the employer’s responsibility to assess when conditions require a railing and to provide the necessary fall protection.
OSHA regulations call for a railing system that can be permanent or removable depending on the usage of floor openings; wall holes and openings; open-sided floors, platforms, and runways; and stairways. The standards specify that all guardrail systems must consist of a toe board, a mid rail and a top rail. This system must be able to withhold 200 pounds when struck.
The general industry standards require a railing when workers are more than four feet about the next level. However, construction standards require fall protection when a worker is more than six feet above the next level.
If certain things, such as scaffolding, pump jacks or ladder jacks, are used in construction then the height requirement becomes ten feet above the next level before guardrails are required. Also, if a worker is elevated on stilts, then the railing must be elevated the same amount of inches that the worker will be elevated.
If you believe that you have been hurt in an accident that could have been prevented by the installation of railings, and that railings were required under the OSHA guidelines, please contact Pulgini & Norton, LLP. These attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.
OSHA Railing Requirements, eHow.com