No Excuse for No Guardrails
Proper guardrails are an essential requirement for safety on many job sites. Obviously it's not enough to just expect workers to "not get too close to the edge". OSHA has a lot of standards pertaining to guardrails for a reason. They are there to protect workers at heights as well as workers, pedestrians and property on the ground.
Guardrails must be constructed properly. They must be able to stand up to construction use and prevent someone from falling. Damaged or broken guardrails must be repaired or replaced immediately upon discovery. Guardrails must be maintained throughout all phases of work on the site.
Guardrails typically consist of a top rail, a mid rail and a toeboard.
Top rails must be constructed at a height of 42-inches (plus or minus 3-inches) and must be able to withstand 200 lbs. of force downward and outward in the direction of the hazard or fall area.
Mid rails must be installed at a height of 21-inches or mid-way between the surface and the top rail, and must be able to withstand 150 lbs. of force.
Toeboards must be at least 3.5-inches high and designed to withstand50 lbs. of force. Toeboards are an important part of falling object protection for workers on the lower levels of the construction site.
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