Providing proper tools and training for fall protection on finished residential buildings is a challenge, but it’s necessary, and with the right equipment and information/education it’s certainly possible to provide the appropriate fall protection.
While other industries have come to the realization that working at height without protection is one of the most dangerous things done at worksites — leading them to implement complex fall protection plans, prove thorough training for workers, and demand customized fall arrest systems unique to a particular industry’s needs — there has been little headway in providing personal fall protection for workers working on finished residential homes. Read more at http://www.masonrymagazine.com/7-02/prevention.html
One reason people disregard fall protection on finished residential homes is that many people frequently do similar jobs themselves, e.g., patching roofs, cleaning gutters, and hanging Christmas lights. This familiarity and nonchalance with working at heights are a reason fall hazards often go unnoticed in the established residential sector. Another reason is that legislators and enforcement agencies like OSHA have not pushed for better regulation like they have in the construction industry, which has strict standards for personal protective and personal fall arrest equipment. A final reason is that proper tools and systems haven’t been developed or aren’t readily available for setup and protection when working at heights. Click here to read more info about fall protection.
Looking Toward the Future
One improvement in fall protection on finished residential homes would be building codes that require the installation of permanent anchor points on the top of newly built residential homes during construction or, in cases of retrofitting, when one’s house is reroofed to which workers could then attach their personal fall arrest systems. These anchors would provide fall protection to the persons constructing or reroofing the house as well as provide protection to others who will work at heights at these homes in the future. Furthermore, homeowners could then take advantage of these safety anchor points to protect themselves when cleaning out the gutters, hanging Christmas lights, etc.
I don’t think you’ll come across many people who wouldn’t be willing to pay a few dollars more to install a couple anchor points for fall protection during the construction of their new home. The problem is that contractors are worried about the liability they could be exposed to if the anchor points they install aren’t used properly and thus contribute to an accident, which is why education and training are so important. On the bright side, legislators have been discussing the importance of fall protection on finished residential homes and. Hopefully, this will lead to a change in building codes shortly.