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Friday, November 18, 2016

Roof Fall Protection: Retractable or Rope Grab?

Work on roofs: retractable lanyards or rope grab?

In a personal fall protection system, retractable lanyards and energy absorbing lanyards are both means of Connection (the C in the ABC of Fall Arrest). They connect the A and the B; they connect the user to the anchor point.





The ABC of Fall Arrest
Retractable lanyards are commonly used with overhead anchorage lines but nowadays, more and more models are suitable for horizontal use too. This means that those models can also be used on roofs, where anchor lines or anchor points are located at the height of the worker’s feet.
So what is the best connecting device for a work restraint system on a roof? In what situations can a retractable lanyard be used? In this post, we will explain the difference between the various connecting devices.
Work restraint

Readers who know a thing or two about fall protection may know that there are two different ways to use fall protection anchorage on a roof: for work restraint systems or for fall arrest. From a safety point of view, work restraint should always be preferred over a fall arrest situation because the former is a preventive measure: the length of the connection prevents users from reaching a position from where a fall could occur. This is common practice for work on flat or near-flat roofs.

Lanyard + Rope Grab

When the distance between the anchor point and the work location varies or is more than 6 ft., a different kind of connection is needed. In these situations, the traditional method is to use a long lanyard (rope) with a rope grab and a shock absorber.


Work restraint system where the length of the lanyard connection is set with a rope grab.
A shock absorbing lanyard is used to limit the fall arrest shock. You will notice something odd here. Why is a shock absorbing lanyard needed to absorb the fall arrest shock in a work restraint system that prevents a fall from happening in the first place?

Because in these situations, the human factor is always a risk.

The risk of misuse

Using a rope with a rope grab requires a user to manually set the length of his connection. Of course, a work restraint system with an adjustable length entails a certain risk of misuse. This risk is covered by a shock absorbing lanyard.  So except in situations where fixed-length lanyards are used, there is no physical difference between a rooftop personal fall protection system used for work restraint and one that is used for fall arrest.  In theory, this shouldn’t be a problem because personal fall protection may only be used by trained and qualified workers who know exactly what they’re doing. Still, the system should be capable to arrest their fall if they misuse the system or make a mistake. You never know.

Retractable lanyards for horizontal work restraint

So a personal fall protection system on a roof needs to provide users the possibility to set a limit for themselves, and to arrest their fall just in case. Retractable lanyards come in different lengths, so notwithstanding their name they could just as well be used for work restraint purposes. If the max. length of the cable (or webbing in some cases) is equal or smaller than the distance to the edge, that is. But why would you?

Usability

The main reason to consider using a retractable lanyard for work restraint purposes, is that a retractable lanyard ensures a taut connection¹. Users don’t have to adjust the length of their connection: the retractable lanyard unrolls as they move further away, and retracts as they move back.
¹ This is especially valuable when a flat roof contains fall-through hazards such as skylights. If a fall were to happen, a taut connection ensures a quicker fall arrest.



With a rope grab, users are required to perform a manual corrective action every time the rope becomes slack. Users would have to set the length of their connection by adjusting the rope grab which is attached to the back of their harness. Users also have to deal with the excess rope.
Although both solutions offer an equal level of safety (on non-fragile roof surfaces), one could argue that a retractable lanyard is a more convenient solution.  The downside of a retractable lanyard however, is that it can only restrain users at its maximum range; it cannot be set to restrain users at intermediate lengths. By contrast, a rope grab can be set at any point on the lanyard.

Conclusion

So, when does one opt for a retractable lanyard with a permanent fall protection system?
As a building owner with permanent roof anchorage at a fixed distance (more than 6 ft.) from the edge, then buying a retractable lanyard is an excellent way to achieve maximum usability and to make sure that workers cannot misuse the work restraint system: unquestionably a value-add.

However, if the work restraint range on your roof differs, then buying a retractable lanyard is probably not worth it unless your roof contains a lot of fall-through hazards. A rope grab and lanyard is still a safe and cost-effective solution that can be used in almost any situation.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Top 10 OSHA Violations

Take a look at the most frequently cited OSHA regulations resulting from last year's inspections of jobsites by federal OSHA. Even though many of these regulations don’t correlate exactly with fall protection, highlighting them will hopefully shine a light on the sheer volume of potentially harmful workplace actions that take place every year.  The combined violations relating to fall protection make up for 16,207 of the 40,560 total citations (that's almost 40%!), showing just how focused OSHA is on ensuring the safety of those who work at heights.

Below are top 10 most frequently cited OSHA regulations:

1. FALL PROTECTION (OSHA STANDARD: 1926.500) - TOTAL # OF VIOLATIONS: 7,516
This standard outlines where fall protection is required, which systems should be used for given situations, the proper construction and installation of safety systems, and the proper supervision of employees to prevent falls. It is designed to protect employees on walking/working surfaces with an unprotected side or edge above six feet.
2. HAZARD COMMUNICATION (OSHA STANDARD: 1920.1200) - TOTAL # OF VIOLATIONS: 6,148
The purpose of this section is to ensure that the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported are clearly defined, and that information concerning these hazards is transmitted to employers and employees. The requirements of this section are intended to be consistent with the provisions of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), Revision 3. The transmittal of information is to be accomplished by means of comprehensive hazard communication programs, which are to include container labeling and other forms of warnings, safety data sheets, and employee training.
3. SCAFFOLDING (OSHA STANDARD: 1926.451) - TOTAL # OF VIOLATIONS: 5,724
The very presence of scaffolding at a jobsite can introduce hazards to a work environment, such as falls, falling objects, and structural instability. OSHA’s scaffolding requirements are performance-based, which means the rules aren’t as rigid as other standards. The specifics of compliance depend on the types of scaffolding used, the situations they are used in, and the personnel using them.
4. RESPIRATORY PROTECTION (OSHA STANDARD: 1910.134) - TOTAL # OF VIOLATIONS: 3,843
This standard applies to general industry, shipyards, marine terminals, long shoring, and construction. It states that, in the control of occupational diseases caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors, the primary objective shall be to prevent atmospheric contamination. This is accomplished by implementing accepted engineering control measures. For example, enclosure or confinement of the operation, general and local ventilation, and substitution of less toxic materials. When effective engineering controls are not feasible, or while they are being instituted, appropriate respirators shall be used pursuant to this section.
5. POWERED INDUSTRIAL TRUCKS (OSHA STANDARD: 1910.178) - TOTAL # OF VIOLATIONS: 3,147
This section contains safety requirements relating to fire protection, design, maintenance, and use of fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other specialized industrial trucks powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines. This section does not apply to compressed air or nonflammable compressed gas-operated industrial trucks, to farm vehicles, or to vehicles intended primarily for earth moving or over-the-road hauling.
6. LOCKOUT / TAGOUT (OSHA STANDARD: 1910.178) - TOTAL # OF VIOLATIONS: 3,117
This covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected energization or startup of the machines or equipment, or release of stored energy, could harm employees. This standard establishes minimum performance requirements for the control of such hazardous energy.
7. LADDERS (OSHA STANDARD: 1926.1053) - TOTAL # OF VIOLATIONS: 2,967
This standard states that when portable ladders are used to access an upper landing surface, the ladder side rails shall extend at least 3 feet above the upper landing surface to which the ladder is used to gain access; or, when such an extension is not possible because of the ladder's length, then the ladder shall be secured at its top to a rigid support that will not deflect, and a grasping device, such as a grab rail, shall be provided to assist employees in mounting and dismounting the ladder. In no case shall the extension be such that ladder deflection under a load would, by itself, cause the ladder to slip off its support.
8. ELECTRICAL, WIRING METHODS, COMPONENTS, AND EQUIPMENT (OSHA STANDARD: 1910.305) - TOTAL # OF VIOLATIONS: 2,907
The basic aspects of this standard include:
1.    Electrical continuity of metal raceways and enclosures. Metal raceways, cable armor, and other metal enclosures for conductors shall be metallically joined together into a continuous electric conductor and shall be so connected to all boxes, fittings, and cabinets as to provide effective electrical continuity.
2.    Wiring in ducts. No wiring systems of any type shall be installed in ducts used to transport dust, loose stock or flammable vapors. No wiring system of any type may be installed in any duct used for vapor removal or for ventilation of commercial-type cooking equipment, or in any shaft containing only such ducts.
3.    Temporary wiring. Temporary electrical power and lighting wiring methods may be of a class less than would be required for a permanent installation. Except as specifically modified in this paragraph, all other requirements of this subpart for permanent wiring shall apply to temporary wiring installations.
9. MACHINERY AND MACHINE GUARDING (OSHA STANDARD: 1910.212) - TOTAL # OF VIOLATIONS: 2,520
This standard identifies types of guarding and when it is needed. In short, it states that one or more methods of machine guarding shall be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks. Examples of guarding methods are -barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, electronic safety devices, etc.
10. ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS DESIGN, GENERAL REQUIREMENTS (OSHA STANDARD: 1910.303) - TOTAL # OF VIOLATIONS: 2,427
This standard covers the examination, installation, and use of electrical equipment, electrical connections, arcing parts, marking, disconnecting means and circuits, and minimum space around electrical equipment.
It is vital that both employers and workers understand the importance of complying with OSHA regulations. Understanding and satisfying these regulations will ensure a safe jobsite, protect the work force, and save lives.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Maintaining Workplace Safety with Construction Trash Chutes

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for providing and enforcing guidelines for workplace safety. According to OSHA, construction trash chutes offer a safe and convenient way to remove debris and waste materials from rooftops and elevated areas. OSHA regulations require the use of trash chutes when dropping trash from roofs over 20 feet in height. These chutes must be secured to the building to ensure optimal safety for construction workers and others in the working area. The lineup of construction trash chute packages offered by Bird Ladder and Equipment Company is designed to comply with all applicable OSHA standards and provides real help for workers in managing waste disposal tasks in the working environment.
image of construction trash chute

Safe Use of Construction Trash Chutes

Proper installation of trash chutes is critical to ensure the safety of workers and to prevent accidents caused by falling debris. Trash chutes are available in a wide range of diameters and lengths; modular chutes can be combined to ensure the right size for the job. Smaller chutes can often be attached securely to the side of the building. Larger chutes may require a supporting frame to ensure that they stay securely in place when in use. OSHA requires that 42-inch guardrails be installed around the top opening of construction trash chutes to prevent workers from falling into the opening during the course of their duties. These rail guards must be securely anchored to stay in place even when subjected to severe impacts or sustained pressure.

Clearing the Path Below

A perimeter should be enforced around the landing spot for trash on the ground floor. In some cases, the materials removed from upper levels of the building can land with considerable force. Ensuring that workers keep a safe distance from the area where trash will land can prevent serious injuries in the workplace environment and can ensure full compliance with all OSHA regulations governing the use of construction trash chutes in the working environment.
Construction trash chutes can significantly speed the clean-up process and can remove obstacles that can present risks to workers on rooftops or in elevated areas of the worksite. By allowing the fast and convenient disposal of unneeded materials and construction debris, trash chutes can enhance productivity and improve morale among the work crew. Polyethylene trash chutes offer a solid combination of durability and lightweight performance to ensure the most effective and convenient solutions for construction firms and building maintenance companies. By working with an established supplier like Bird Ladder and Equipment, project managers and crew leaders can enjoy increased productivity and improved compliance with all applicable OSHA regulations.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

                        Bird Ladder Open House May 15th.
Bird Ladder will be having their annual open house May 15th.  Every year we have customer appreciation day which includes a truck load sale on everything. Werner ladders, pumpjacks, planks, Granite scaffolding, MBW compactors, trowels and mixers, Werner fall protection, Acro roofing equipment, Tie down shingle hoists, Vanmark brakes, Knaack job boxes, Weatherguard truck and van equipment, Reechcraft powerpole, powermast and powerlift to name a few.
We will also have factory reps demonstrating their products.  We will be introducing new products at the show.  The NEW Knaack 118 data vault will be on display with demonstrations.  We will also have the new Reechcraft Powermast set up.  They also have a new free standing base that will be shown.  We will also have new MBW plate compactors on display.
Free safety classes will also be returning this year.  We will offer  ladder safety courses,  fall protection courses and also a presentation by Acro products on use of their roof edge protection.  cards will be issued for the lader and fall protection training.  We are also attempting to have a representative from OSHA here to answer question.
We also serve lunch from 12:00 till the food runs out.  So bring your shopping list, save money, get trained, and have lunch.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

construction
OSHA will conduct a national safety stand-down June 2-6 to raise awareness among construction employers and their workers about the hazards of falls, the leading cause of fatal incidents for the industry.
OSHA is seeking partners for the stand-down, and it has stocked a national safety stand-down website with information about how to conduct a successful stand-down. After it takes place, employers will be able to provide feedback and receive a personalized certificate of participation.
An OH&S webinar on April 3 is another way to get information about preventing construction falls. Three experts from OSHA (Jim Maddux, Directorate of Construction director); NIOSH (Dr. Christine Branche, Office of Construction Safety and Health director); and CPWR—The Center for Construction Research and Training (Pete Stafford, executive director) will discuss OSHA’s ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign and the latest information about the causes of falls in the U.S. construction industry.
"Falls account for more than a third of all deaths in this industry," said Dr. David Michaels, the OSHA assistant secretary. "We're working with employers, workers, industry groups, state OSH plans, and civic and faith-based organizations to host safety stand-downs that focus on recognizing hazards and preventing falls. We are getting the message out to America’s employers that safety pays and falls cost."

The stand-down is part of OSHA's ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign, which was started in 2012 and was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program.
"We are pleased to join again with OSHA and our NORA partners to focus on fall prevention at construction sites," said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard. "Preventing falls in the construction industry benefits everyone, from the worker, to the employer, to the community at large. This safety stand-down serves as an important opportunity for everyone to take the time to learn how to recognize and prevent fall hazards."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Weatherguard Van Solutions

WernerCo Introduces New Weather Guard OEM Van Solutions

Range includes Ford Transit Connect, Ram ProMaster, Mercedes Sprinter and others.


WernerCo announces the introduction of professional trade packages for commercial van OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturer), including the Ram ProMaster, the Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit Connect and others.
Designed for contractors and remodelers on the move, the Weather Guard OEM trade packages provide secure, durable and organized van solutions for professionals, regardless of the vehicle. The custom designed Weather Guard Van solutions are developed to fit every detail, including the contours of specialty vans, such as the Ram ProMaster.
“We have expanded our offering to provide Weather Guard storage solutions for a range of vehicle manufacturers because we know a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t always best”, said Jeff Kotz, Senior Van Product Manager from WernerCo. “Among our offerings, we are excited to have several for Ford and will continue to develop customized van and truck solutions for new vehicle models as they are introduced. Our goal is to continue to provide professional tradesmen with solutions that secure their tools and materials, while maximizing productivity.”
Customizable Van Solutions That Are Easy to Install
The Weather Guard Van storage solutions feature custom bulkhead, space-maximizing design, and a wide range of shelving and accessory options to accommodate any type of trade business—from general contractors to plumbing and Mechanical/ HVAC. With ready-to install accessories and pre-drilled holes, Weather Guard installs quickly and allows for customizations.
The storage solutions and accessories provide flexibility and convenience while the ladder and roof rack options make loading and unloading oversized equipment or supplies easy and secure. Weather Guard now offers a full range of professional trade packages for all commercial van OEM’s from the New Ford Transit Connect and RAM Promaster to the Ford E-Series, Chevy Express/GMC Savana, Nissan NV and the Mercedes Sprinter.
Each custom designed Weather Guard Van Storage solution includes:
  • Better Bulkheads: The Bulkhead for the 2014 Transit Connect and Promaster vans provide maximum protection for drivers and passengers against shifting loads in the cargo area and allow for unobstructed visibility of the cargo, side door and rear door areas.
  • REDZONE Van Shelving: The shelving systems come in popular sizes with two, three or four shelves and make it easy to create custom configurations. The secure storage shelf and door modules maximize efficiency and security. End panels and single shelves complete the system and are packaged separately.
  • Drawer & Bin Cabinets: High quality, durable drawer cabinets feature latches for each drawer, smooth ball-bearing rollers and secure locks that can be keyed alike. Bin cabinets feature hook and loop fasteners to securely hold bins in place.
  • REDZONE Accessories: Keep frequently used tools and materials close—including a tool organizer, cleaning station, bucket and tank holders, caulk tube tray and a range of trade-specific accessories.
  • Quick Installation: Features floor mounting brackets, simplified bulkhead mounting brackets and pre-punched mounting holes in end panels and shelves.
  • Specialty Storage: Includes new secure storage locking cabinets and drawers, including the PACK RAT Drawer Units, lightweight and stackable ITEMIZER Drawer Units, or the BED RAT Sliding Platform.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

Job Site Trash Chutes

A risky part of the construction industry is the demolition of the old that makes way for the new. There are multiple hazards in renovating old buildings that are not as inherent for new construction. Both have their hazards, but tearing out old materials in partial and full remodeling jobs has hazards in the debris produced during the demolition phase.

Construction Site Cleanup

For a safe workplace, it is a good idea to assign personnel to continually gather and remove debris from active work areas. As demolition debris collects, the hazards of workers tripping, falling and being cut by sharp debris increases. Any floor above the first floor involves using stairs or service elevators for debris removal unless a construction trash chute is installed.

The standard tools of cleanup at a construction site are still used. Wheelbarrows, shovels, brooms and buckets help in collecting the debris. The savings in time and labor come from not needing to descend and climb stairs or wait on an elevator to take loads of debris to ground level where the construction trash dumpster is located. Also, using a construction trash chute eliminates the need to hoist materials up and into a dumpster. Items are directed straight into dumpsters at the terminating end of the chute.

Trash Chute Benefits

Worker fatigue of carrying bags, boxes and buckets of debris to the dumpster outside is eliminated. The potential of falling while carrying heavy debris down flights of stairs is eliminated. No workers need to lift heavy items over their heads to deposit them into dumpsters at ground level. After a short period of time is spent installing the chute at a window, debris removal is unimpeded. The chute can be easily extended to cover all floors under construction.

Trash Chute Capabilities

Quality trash chute packages sold by the Bird Ladder and Equipment Company can handle solid or liquid waste. Outriggers can easily be installed at a vertical bank of windows to serve all floors under construction above one dumpster. Outriggers can be connected to windows as small as 36 inches. A lifting winch makes easy and quick installation of the largest and heaviest trash chutes. Intake hoppers that receive debris are made of 12 gauge steel for long lasting durability.
Trash chute installation at a construction site makes removal of demolition debris and construction waste easy and safe. Just shovel, toss or empty debris and waste into the intake hoppers, and the materials slide down the chute right into the dumpster at ground level. No bagging, boxing or toting items down stairs or elevators is needed. They increase productivity by allowing less time needed to be involved in cleanup of construction sites. The short period of time needed to install a chute saves countless hours that would otherwise be used in getting demolition debris and construction waste to ground level.

Knaack 4830D

Knaack has developed the first and only job-site Knaack 4830-D with independent locking draw.  It has many features which include:
  • Anti-Slam Lid- Gas strut supported lid to control closing speed
  • Raised Chest Floor- Easily reach chest bottom without over-reaching
  • 3 Sided easy grip lid-Continuous ergonomic grip for easy access
  • Independent Watchman IV locks- Separate locking system for chest and drawer.
Junk Trunk quick access drawer- Quickly access high demand tools.
4830-d Box
4830-d Box
  • Weight: 254 lbs.
  • 48" x 30" x 35" closed
Knaack has hit a home run with this box.  The draw capacity is rated at 150 lbs.