Warning Line Systems as Fall Protection

title of today’s posting may conjure an image of folks standing
shoulder-to-shoulder on top of a structure yelling out warnings to team members
below, so we thought it would be beneficial to review what a warning line
actually is and what the guidelines are when used as fall protection.

warning line is a rope, wire, or chain, along with supporting stanchions that
is erected around all sides of the work area. OSHA imposes certain requirements
when the warning line is used as fall protection for roofing activities on
low-slope roofs with unprotected sides, including:

  • The
    rope, wire, or chain shall be rigged and supported in such a way that its
    lowest point (including sag) is no less than 34” from the walking/working
    surface and its highest point is no more than 39” from that same surface.
  • The
    line, attached at each stanchion, must be capable of resisting the force of at
    least 16 pounds without tipping over and have a minimum tensile strength of 500
  • The
    line must be erected in such a way that pulling on one section will not result
    in slack being taken up in adjacent sections before the stanchion tips over.
  • The
    rope, wire, or chain shall be flagged at no more than 6-foot intervals with
    high-visibility material
  • When mechanical equipment is not
    being used, the warning line shall be erected not less than 6 feet from the
    roof edge.
  • When mechanical equipment is being
    used, the warning line shall be erected not less than 10 feet from the roof
  • Points of access, materials
    handling areas, storage areas, and hoisting areas shall be connected to the
    work area by an access path formed by two warning lines.
  • When the path to a point of access
    is not in use, a barricade equivalent in strength and height to the warning
    line shall be placed across the path or the path shall be offset such that a
    person cannot walk directly into the work area.
  • No employee shall be allowed in
    the area between the roof edge and the warning line unless protected by the use
    of a personal fall arrest system.
More information regarding the use of warning lines can be found online at www.osha.gov.

Construction-Related Accidents Don’t Just Happen

Accidents on construction sites are usually a result of someone not paying attention or knowing how to recognize a safety hazard. Construction companies who focus on developing an attitude of safety in their workforce have about 1/5 as many on-the job accidents or injuries.

Some general rules of safety include: 

  • Learn the safe way to do your job.
  • Don’t jump from one elevation to another.
  • Don’t work under suspended loads.
  • Remove protruding nails or bend them over.
  • Keep the work area clear of debris.
  • Use the personal protective equipment required for the job.
  • Treat all electrical wires as being live.
  • Use the right tool for the right job.
  • Be sure all tools are in good shape.
  • Keep scaffolds free of excess weight.

Four Hazard Avoidance Rules

  1. Know the safe way to work, and then follow the safe way all the time.
  2. Maintain safe working conditions – for yourself and others around you.
  3. Work safely, setting the example, and encourage others to do so.
  4. Report all accidents and near misses to your employer.

Help expand the list above by posting a way you incorporate safety into your work routine!

Safe-D: Hydration…Is it Time for a Drink?

We’ve all experienced it at some point. Fatigue sets in; your mouth feels dry; your legs are heavy and you may even have a headache. These are all common signs of dehydration.

When you are working hard, body fluid is lost through sweat. If that fluid is not replaced, dehydration and early fatigue are unavoidable. Losing even 2% of body fluids (less than 3.5 pounds in a 180-pound person) can impair performance by increasing fatigue and affecting cognitive skills. During the summer heat it is easy to become dehydrated if you don’t drink enough fluids to replace what is lost in sweat. But it is equally important to understand that dehydration happens during the winter as well. 

Prevent Dehydration 

  • When to drink: Ensure you drink before you start working, trying to catch-up for lost fluids after a period of time is very difficult. Also, drink before you get thirsty. By the time you’re thirsty you are already dehydrated, so it’s important to drink at regular intervals – especially when it is hot outside.
  • What to drink: Water is truly one of the best things to drink. Research also shows that a lightly flavored beverage with a small amount of sodium encourages people to drink enough to stay hydrated. The combination of flavor and electrolytes in a sports drink like Gatorade provides one of the best choices to help you stay properly hydrated.
  • What to avoid: During activity, avoid drinks with high sugar content such as soda and even fruit juices. These are slow to absorb into the body. Also alcohol and caffeinated beverages should be avoided.

Many people ask how much to drink and that depends on your activity level and how much your body is losing fluids. In general, when you are working and sweating, you should drink at least every half-hour.