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Falls from Ladders and Scaffolds

What Are Personal Fall Arrest Systems?

Because falls from ladders and scaffolds are prevalent in the construction industry, considerable thought, time and planning has gone into fall prevention measures. Personal fall arrest systems are safety precautions that can help prevent serious injury from ladder and scaffold falls.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires that workers wear a full-body harness when working on a suspended scaffold that is more than 10 feet above the working surface area. They must also wear them when working in an aerial lift or bucket.

Contractor Responsibility for Safety

In New York, contractors are directly responsible for providing personal protective equipment to workers. Workers include subcontractors, staff and other firms working for the contractor. (Reference §107-05 SAFETY AND HEALTH REQUIREMENTS Based on this law, "the employer (is) to furnish employment and workplaces ‘free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm’ to employees.")

Personal Fall Arrest System Facts

The personal fall arrest system must be inspected to ensure there is no damage prior to use, every time it is worn.

The system has three components:

  • The anchor and anchorage connector. The anchor hooks to the fixture and the anchorage connector attaches to the connecting device.
  • The connecting device. Either a lanyard or retractable lifeline with snaphooks connects to the anchor connector. Snaphooks must be the types that lock. The lanyard may include a deceleration device. The lanyards or lifelines must be able to support 5,000 pounds per worker attached to it.
  • Full-body harness. The harness wraps around the worker and the connecting device attaches to it. It must attach in the center of the back near the shoulder level or above the head.

If you experience a serious injury as a result from falling from a ladder or scaffold, consult with an attorney who is experienced in handling falls from ladders cases. A seasoned lawyer has in-depth knowledge of New York State laws. Such knowledge is vital for bringing legal action and obtaining compensation.

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