In a perfect scenario as illustrated in the attached photos we see a roofer standing at the edge of a parapet. The roofer has no fall protection of any kind. Give the roofer credit for wearing protective clothing necessary as a means to protect his body while applying a coating over a spray foam roof, but that protective suite will not stop him from falling.
The distance from the top of the parapet to the ground is approximately seventeen (17) feet. The ground below is a hard surface which would be unforgiving to a falling human body.
A slight slip of either feet. A tangling of the boots in the protective covering. A sudden distraction. A sudden gust of wind. All of these situations can cause the roofer to loose his balance and fall to the ground below.
Beyond any OSHA requirement, and the obvious serious injury or even fatality which would result in the roofer falling to the ground below, the shock and grief that will affect to his fellow roofers, family, and friends is beyond measure.
It is for all the right reasons, and logical conclusion, that fall protection is a necessary safety measure. The code allows a number of ways to protect the roofer or anyone else working above ground. Simple steps can reduce the risk of injury and prevent long term disability and even death.
When Fall Protection Means Saving A Life
It goes without saying that standing in the bucket of an excavator to hang a sign is not a good or safe idea. Such behavior is not only unsafe but also violates California General Industry Safety Orders, §3657 – Elevating Employees with Lift Trucks (Fed OSHA §1910.67).
According to the United States Department of Labor OSHA (osha.gov) “Many workers are injured or killed on aerial lifts each year”. Currently an aerial lift is described as one of the following:
- Extendable boom platforms,
- Aerial Ladders,
- Articulating (joined) boom platforms,
- Vertical towers, and
- Combination of the above
The bucket of any excavator does not fit the definition of an aerial lift.
According to OSHA (osha.gov) even if someone properly uses an aerial lift the hazards for using such equipment may include:
- Fall from elevated level,
- Objects falling from lifts,
- Ejections from the lift platform,
- Structural failures (collapses)
- Electric shock (electrocutions),
- Entanglement hazards,
- Contact with objects, and
- Contact with ceilings and other overhead objects
As illustrated in the photo below the gentleman is hanging a warning sign while standing inside the bucket of an excavator. How ironic that someone is hanging a warnign sign considering the unsafe behavior being exhibited.
You Should Never Do This
In the instance of hanging a warning sign a safe practice would be to use a properly designed ladder supported by solid footing. Solid footing in this case would have been a smooth, level, and solid ground.