Guardrails for Fall Protection
Each employee shall be protected from falling from exposed sides or edges and
objects falling from work areas 4 feet above lower levels. This protection can come in the following forms: guardrails, personal fall arrest systems, safety nets, or covers.
However, Guardrails are the preferred and safer method as they are passive systems that protect workers below from falling objects and workers on the elevated work area from falling off. Guardrails must also be used when wall openings are larger than 18” wide and 30” tall (e.g. windows, door openings, and/or un-enclosed walls with studs greater than 18” OC, etc.).
• Guardrails are an accepted form of Fall Protection in many situations: Construction, Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Bridges, etc.• Guardrails can be made of many different types of materials: wood, steel, wire rope, and composites.
• The guardrail top rail must be able to withstand 200lbs of downward and outward force.
• The guardrail mid-rail must be able to withstand 150lbs of downward and outward force.
• Top rails must be 42 inches tall plus or minus 3 inches as measured adjacent to the rail.
• Mid-rails should midway between top rail and working surface.
• Screens/mesh (see below for example) and/or toe-boards must be used if there is the possibility of things falling over the edge.