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What are some safety requirements for guardrails?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2022 | Construction Accidents |

A safety barrier could mean the difference between coming home safely from a construction job and suffering a serious fall that sends you to the hospital. In certain situations, usually when a work location is higher than six feet from a lower level, a guardrail may be necessary to protect you and your fellow workers.

Still, it is not enough to put up a guardrail and call it a day. Construction companies should be sure that their guardrails can provide the necessary security for their workers in high work areas.

Strong load capacity

A construction site guardrail should be able to withstand forces and actions that could compromise it. According to EHS Today, both OSHA and the International Building Code require guardrails to handle no less than 200 pounds of concentrated force. The IBC also states that guardrails should withstand 50 pounds for every linear foot.

The load capacity of a guardrail is important because it may need to stand in place for a prolonged period of time. The wear created by construction work could cause a weak railing to break apart or fail.

Proper installation

Even a strong guardrail might not protect you if your employer does not follow installation standards while putting it in place. The EHS Today article explains that a properly functioning guardrail should reach a height of 42 inches above the ground. While OSHA does not provide additional installation standards, a guardrail should be of sufficient quality to prevent falls.

In the event it is not possible to use a guardrail, another fall arrest system such as a safety net or a warning system must be in place. Regardless, a construction contractor should not skimp on safety measures when their workers labor in high places or serious injury could result, which may cost the contractor money in fines as well as a loss of goodwill.

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