Dangers of Using Fall Protection Systems Near Exposed Edges

Posted on

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers discuss workplace fall accidents. Working on roofs, decks, platforms, or any other elevated area where there is an open edge can be dangerous if workers do not have the proper fall protection gear. In fact, after several fatalities involving workers who fell to their deaths after their self-retracting lifelines (SRLs) were severed, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries issued a hazard alert for employers and workers who use personal fall arrest systems near exposed edges. The alert warns workers that a lifeline could be severed when used near an unprotected edge, resulting in a fatal fall. There are proactive steps employers can take to prevent tragic accidents like these from occurring.

According to accident reports from the incidents, evidence indicates that the lifelines were damaged during the fall, not before. The manufacturers of the lifelines said that the SRLs should not be used near exposed edges that could damage the SRL or prevent the lifeline from stopping a fatal fall from occurring. Whether workers are using SRLs or non-SLR fall-arrest systems, such as lanyards and rope, webbing, or cables, both can cause serious safety hazards.

Tips for Preventing Falls

Safety officials urge employers to take the following steps to protect workers:

  • Identify all hazardous edges during the jobsite inspection process, and document any exposed, or potentially unsafe edges.
  • Inspect lifelines and other fall protection equipment prior to use. This should be done on a regular basis.
  • Whenever possible, avoid having employees work in areas that have hazardous edges. When lifelines meet exposed edges, workers are at risk of a potentially fatal fall.
  • Lifelines should be anchored vertically to prevent them from encountering exposed edges. This can also help prevent or minimize swing falls.
  • Make sure that workers always stay within a safe working distance from the overhead anchor point.
  • Provide lifelines for employees that are specifically designed for the task and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to a tee.
  • Use protective material to cover the edges to protect lifelines against any cuts or abrasions.
  • Employers should also ensure that work crews understand the following:
    – How to use the fall protection equipment that is provided, and understand the limitations of each piece of equipment
    – The locations of potentially hazardous edges
    – The importance of protecting lifelines when working in the vicinity of exposed edges, and how to go about doing that

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Secure Compensation for Victims of Fall Accidents

If your fall protection system was damaged or severed after being used near an exposed edge, causing you to suffer a serious fall-related injury, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. These injuries are preventable if employers ensure that workers take the appropriate precautions when using fall arrest systems. We will help you navigate the claims process and ensure that you receive the full financial benefits that you deserve. We will not stop fighting for you until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.