The OSHA fall protection rule also
covers falling object protection. The rule requires your employer
to take measures to protect you from falling objects.
Hard hats are the number one defense
against overhead hazards including falling objects. However,
hard hats are not enough. An additional method of protection
must be used when there are employees working or walking below.
Falling object protection alternatives
OSHA provides a number of falling
object protection methods to select from, depending on your
company's need. The choices are toeboards and screens, guardrails,
canopies, signs, barricades, or simply moving objects away
from the edge.
Falling object protection
Guardrails - When guardrails
are used to prevent materials from falling from one
level to another, any openings must be small enough
to prevent passage of potential falling objects.
Toeboards - When toeboards
are used as protection from falling objects, they must
be erected along the edges of the overhead walking/working
surface for a distance sufficient to protect persons
To ensure a toeboard can stop falling
objects, it must be capable of withstanding a force of at
least 50 pounds applied in any downward or outward direction
anywhere along the toeboard.
Toeboards must be a minimum of
3.5 inches tall, have no more than 0.25 inches clearance above
the surface, and be solid or have openings no larger than
Where tools, equipment, or materials
are piled higher than the top edge of a toeboard, panelling
or screening must be erected from the walking/working surface
or toeboard to the top of a guardrail's top rail or midrail,
for a distance sufficient to protect employees below.
Materials storage - To prevent tripping
hazards, no materials or equipment, except masonry and mortar,
can be stored within 4 feet of working edges.
Excess mortar, broken or scattered
masonry units, and all other materials and debris must be
kept clear of your working area. Remove these materials regularly.
During roofing work, materials
and equipment cannot be stored within 6 feet of a roof edge
unless guardrails are erected at the edge. Materials near
a roof edge must be stable and self-supporting.
Canopies - When used as a protection
from falling objects, canopies must be strong enough to prevent
collapse or penetration by objects that may fall onto them.
Being hit by falling objects at
construction sites is not only possible but probable at some
point in your career. Being prepared is the best defense against