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What's wrong with this concrete construction project? #HazardSpotting

#HazardSpotting is a community safety initiative that helps raise awareness about dangerous workplace safety violations, developed by and supported by VISTA Training, Inc. The chances that workers take on the job sometimes astound us. The two laborers pictured above are in the process of assembling rebar into a framework that will eventually be encased within a poured concrete wall. But the fall protection hardware they're wearing is little more than a plastic-coated wire or chain loop with a tie-off that clips into the rebar in front of them. Not exactly a safety harness.

According to OSHA regulations, any laborer who is working at a height of 6 feet or more must wear an approved fall protection harness (OSHA standard 29 CFR 1926.501). These workers look like they're roughly that high from the ground below. But they will continue to climb upward as they build this "cage" of rebar. The worker on the right is wearing his restraint so low on his waist that if he was to lose his grip on the wall of rebar, his upper body weight would immediately spin him head down. He would then slide out of his "harness" and plummet to the ground. An adequate fall protection harness has multiple straps that hold the upper body and torso in place. It can't slide off. The wearer's weight is supported over the surface area of these multiple straps, helping to ensure that one doesn't get overloaded and become a point of failure. It also protects the worker by spreading his or her weight out over the entire set of straps. A loop-type of harness like we see here would probably cause some internal injuries, because in the case of a fall. the worker's entire weight would suddenly be supported by a very small surface area. Clearly the harness this worker is wearing is barely adequate!

The worker on the left is sliding a piece of rebar into place. He is not hanging onto any solid object; his entire weight is being supported by his rudimentary harness. That's scary, especially considering the large gap that is visible between the location where the loop begins (just below his arm) and his stomach. Considering that both workers are flexing rebar to fit it into place in their cage-like structure, both of them should probably be wearing eye protection. On the plus side, both workers are wearing hard hats, heavy-duty footwear and brightly-colored safety vests. This latter piece of PPE becomes very important if a crane is being used to place concrete forms next to them. The operator of this machine needs to be able to clearly see all laborers working in his vicinity. Looking to avoid? See: Concrete Delivery Vehicles Checklist or some of our Concrete Flatwork videos in Spanish If you found this #HazardSpotting article to be helpful, please share it with your colleagues. Don't forget to use the #HazardSpotting hashtag!

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