The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is the primary agency responsible for fall protection enforcement in the United States and they provide the following general guidance on the subject.
Employers must set up the work place to prevent employees from falling off of overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls. OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations. In addition, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.
Learn more about OSHA Fall Protection Standards.
The "American National Standards Institute" to develop certain standard practices and procedures for American Industry. When ANSI agrees to produce a National Consensus Policy, it typically issues a public invitation to form a committee consisting of several members of affected interest. Those members typically consist of representatives from those specific industries which may be affected by the standards they shall develop and author. Committee members generally are recruited from general industry, government (e.g. representatives from OSHA), labor unions, liability insurance carriers, and legal advisors. The Independent Committee, once approved by ANSI, is chartered to develop and author a specific set of practical policy guidelines for the engineering, manufacture, testing, and usage procedures of the products in question.
ANSI does not regulate or enforce any laws or regulations. ANSI merely recommends policies to general industry as well as governmental regulatory agencies. ANSI policies are commonly known as Consensus Policies, although the committee's members do not have to be in unanimous agreement. A consensus agreement of a substantial majority is the only requirement to reach a recommendation. Once an ANSI committee issues it's recommendations, ANSI must review the recommendation prior to issuing its standard. The ramifications of implementation of the standards issued by ANSI are typically weighed by those industries and governmental regulatory agencies which are affected by the standards. With regard to ANSI standards involving significant safety issues, new laws are typically written soon after the introduction of revised ANSI Standards.
During the years 2000 through 2008, there were an average of over 2100 slip and fall accidents per year in the mining industry. Through its Safety Targets Program, MSHA is working to reduce this number significantly.
Fall Protection Systems offers a number of solutions to help mining operations and mining equipment suppliers improve worker safety in this area.
Learn more about MSHA Fall Protection Standards.