OSHA-Compliant Ways to Fortify Your Space Against Fall Hazards

Drag to rearrange sections
Rich Text Content

Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/learning-safety-education-6566353/ 

Creating a safe workplace for employees is a legal and moral obligation. Especially in states with a varying landscape, like Oregon, fall protection systems designed to prevent workers from stepping over the edge of a walking-working space are a must. To ensure compliance, different government agencies create and enforce safety standards. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is one of such government agencies that lays down regulations and legal requirements like Osha Handrail Height Requirements that all employers must fulfill to ensure that their workers are well-protected. 

OSHA fall protection addresses fall hazards over 48 inches. An OSHA-regulated space can handle a 200lb force coming in from either the downward or outward direction and thus can protect your workspace from seasonal hazards. Here are three main areas where OSHA sets in requirements and recommendations for building a fall hazard-free space for your company:

1. Material Choice for Railings

The material to be used in your workplace construction must be durable to cope with changing weather conditions. The surface of the railing is your utmost priority, and therefore it should be smooth so that it can protect your employees from physical injuries like cuts, punctures, or snagging. In addition, the railing should be designed in specific measurements and must not pose any other hazards to create a safe environment and prevent accidents

2. Positioning of Railing

OSHA provides explicit specifications for your railings to be safe. For example, Osha Handrail Height Requirements are laid clearly where your guardrail height has to be between 39 inches to 45 inches, and mid rails are supposed to be placed at a central point between top rail and ground. The diameter of your top rail and the mid-rail must be around 0.6 cm to ¼ diameter.  In addition, your railing must be positioned in such a way that the ends of the top rails and midrails are steady and do not hang over the ending or the terminal posts. This reduces the chances of injury or emergencies.

3. In-Fill Panels

According to rules laid out by OSHA 1910.29(b), no wall or parapet should be higher than 21 inches, and gaps more prominent than 19 inches must be non-compliant. Your in-fill panels or mid-rails have to be installed in such a way that no opening is wider than 19 inches. If you choose to use mesh or screens for your in-fill panels, you must extend your walking surface towards your top rail. Your opening will also need to be between the vertical rails to create an effective system.

When it comes to your Toeboards, 3.5 inches is the ideal height with no gap greater than ¼ inches in-between your toeboard. This will ensure that your railing can withstand a force of up to 50lb exerted from the outward or downward direction. In addition, toeboards have to be solid enough to run through the entire length where objects can fall to lower levels.


There are numerous OSHA regulations on choosing guardrails and legal formalities that have to be followed when constructing a workplace in Oregon. They may seem daunting and expensive at first, but they exist to ensure the safety of your workforce. Failure to do so will not only put your employees at higher risk of accidents and injuries but also high fines for your business and potential lawsuits. It is advisable to be well-informed about these legalities before diving into the construction process.

Drag to rearrange sections
Rich Text Content

Page Comments