Page 21 - OHS, November/December 2021
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The concept of horizontal versus vertical standards in OSH is driven by common sense when it comes to fall protection.
suggests that employees working at heights great than 20 feet have fall protection when using a wooden step ladder. You can use magic numbers four and five to remember this one: 4 x 5 = 20 feet.
For employees who are climbing or working on fixed ladders, it is suggested that employers provide fall protection for heights greater than 24 feet. For this standard height, you can use magic numbers four and six: 4 x 6 = 24 feet.
Another ladder number you might want to remember is the
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height of a wooden two-section ladder. For this, the maximum height is 60 feet. You can use a formula made up of magic numbers four and six to remember this standard height: (4 + 6)6 = 60 feet.
Leading Edge. According to 1926.760 the OSHA standard for Fall Protection, an employee working at the leading edge of a controlled decking zone shall be protected from fall hazards more than two stories, or 30 feet, whichever is less. You can use the magic numbers five and six to remember this standard height: 5 x 6 = 30 feet.
There are many standards for fall protection and thus, valid reasoning for requiring varied heights. Nevertheless, it still poses a challenge to safety practitioners everywhere. It would be more prudent to establish a baseline for all. In reviewing fall protection and the plethora of standards concerning the heights based on industry, we as safety professionals must remember the magic numbers 4, 5 and 6. By reminding our employees and clients of this rule, we can save lives.
Ralph Blessing is a professor at Columbia Southern University. REFERENCE
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