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Fall Prevention Planning


Predicting where a fall is likely to occur can assist in reducing fall risks in a metalcasting facility. MICHELLE HARMS, WAUKESHA FOUNDRY INC., WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN.; AFS HEALTH & SAFETY COMMITTEE (10-Q)


T


he sport of bungee jumping is believed by some to have originated from the centuries-old ritu-


alistic practice of “land divers” in the South Pacifi c. As a ritual of passage, young men desperately trying to prove their worth would jump hundreds of feet with only tree vines attached to their ankles. As the sport evolved, the planning, design and equipment have improved, lessening risks associated with the big jump. Just as the metalcasting industry


has evolved from its origins in 500 BC, so should the planning, design and equipment used to protect employees, thus lessening risks associated with the work. One growing concern in today’s


36 | MODERN CASTING December 2012


metalcasting facility is how to protect workers as they climb on equipment to work from elevated heights. In the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Construction Standard for Fall Protection, fall protection is required whenever a fall of 6 ft. or more exists in a construction setting. T us, fall protection also is necessary in a met- alcasting facility when the potential for a fall exists. Injury is likely whether a construction worker falls from a scaff old without a railing or a fi nish- ing operator falls from the top of shot blasting equipment. A hospital emer- gency will recognize both incidents as work-related. Protecting employees from falls is not only the right thing to do as an


employer, it is also enforceable by law. OSHA can and will cite an infraction under its Walking/Working Surfaces Standard . An excerpt from this stan- dard is provided below: “Every open-sided floor or platform four feet or more above adjacent floor or ground level shall be guarded by a standard railing on all open sides, except where there is entrance to a ramp, stairway or fixed ladder. OSHA’s standard railing consists of a 42-in. top rail, mid rail and 4-in. toeboard. A toeboard is required to protect persons who can pass beneath where there is moving machinery, or there is equipment with which falling materials could create a hazard.” T is particular reference cites a 4-ft. standard, lower than the 6 ft.


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