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Ropes for fall protection? Not on your life! #HazardSpotting

When you move beyond the major industrialized countries, which have well-established and enforced safety regulations, almost anything goes. This building construction site is a perfect example. What's unsafe about it? Plenty! First, both workers in the center of the picture are using ropes to hold themselves in place against the cinderblock wall. The buy near the top of the wall in the red hat has fashioned a little platform to sit on; it looks something like a child's backyard tree swing. The worker on the ladder has a more complex set-up: His ladder and a wooden beam are next to each other, but don't seem to be tied together. It's hard to tell if it plays any role in stabilizing him or if it just happens to be in the way. The ladder is attached via rope to rebar at the top of the structure. Finally, the worker has roped tied around his waist that appears to be tied to the ladder. The fact that his ladder is leaning AWAY from the wall is simply unbelievable. The only thing that's keeping this tall ladder from falling to the ground is the rope that passes behind his back and is tied around its side rails. Both of these daring gentlemen are betting their lives on the quality of the ropes that are holding them up. If any of them are old and frayed, they could easily come apart and fail, causing them to plummet to the ground.

One of the biggest concerns, however, is where both of their ropes are anchored - to the rebar structure at the top of the fixture. As they move around the wall, their ropes will be scraping against the rough surface and edges of the rebar, which could quite easily break. Neither worker has any fall protection - a device that will keep them from falling to the ground if their barely "engineered" work solutions should fail. In addition, neither man is wearing eye or head protection. If the worker at the top of the wall drops a tool or building supplies, they could easily strike the other worker below, causing him injury or knocking him off of his ladder. The next time you feel compelled to complain about your local regulatory work safety agency, imagine what construction would look like if there were no safety standards. Chances are, it would look something like this! Looking to avoid? See: Fall Protection Handbook #HazardSpotting is a community safety initiative that helps raise awareness about dangerous workplace safety violations, developed by and supported by VISTA Training, Inc.

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