FAQs answered by Ed Zalewski When can I use a designated area for fall protection?
A designated area may be used when working on low-slope roofs (also called flat roofs) in two situations. Note that if work will be performed within 6 feet of the edge, a designated area cannot be used. First, if the work will be at least 6 feet (but less than 15 feet) from the edge, a designated area may be used — but only if the work is temporary and infrequent. For example, changing an air conditioner filter once per month would qualify as temporary and infrequent. Second, if employees will be working 15 feet or more from the edge, a designated area may be used; at this distance, it doesn’t matter how long the workers are on the roof. Can we use chains as fall protection at a loading dock?
Maybe. OSHA does not specifically allow or prohibit chains. If used, chains must be equivalent to a guardrail. That means at least two chains would be needed, because a guardrail must have both a top rail and mid rail. A single chain across the opening would be a violation. In addition, the chains must be able to withstand 200 pounds of force, and should be tight enough so that a person could not fall between the chains and the dock edge. Are wheel chocks required for trailers at loading docks?
Trailers parked at loading docks must utilize some method to prevent the trailer from moving. OSHA gives examples of wheel chocks or sand shoes, but other methods could also be effective, such as dock locks. Note that even if the dock ramp is inclined so the trailer sits at an angle, a trailer could still move, so an additional methods (like wheel chocks) would still be required to prevent movement. How often do portable ladders have to be inspected?
Any portable ladder (including wood, metal, and even certain stepstools) must be inspected before the first use on each shift. If a ladder is not used in a particular day, you don’t need to inspect it. However, the first time a ladder is taken out for use each shift, it must be inspected for defects. If any problems are noted, the ladder should be removed from service for repair or replacement. This requirement to inspect ladders before use has been in effect in 2017.
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