A fall from an elevation can seriously injure or kill a worker. Employers should implement a fall prevention safety program by identifying potential fall hazards throughout the workplace, training employees, providing fall protection equipment, and placing guardrails around elevated locations. Guardrails protect workers from falls and act as a barrier to prevent tools and equipment from falling on workers below.
Cal/OSHA requires guardrails to be installed at the open sides of all work surfaces that are 7 ½ ft. or higher, or workers must be protected by other fall protection or, if justified, by a valid fall protection plan…1621(a).
- Guardrailing specifications…1620:
- Railing must be made from select lumber (or equivalent material) and must consist of:
- A wooden top rail that is 42 in. to 45 in. high and that measures 2” x 4” or larger
- A mid-rail that is placed halfway between the top rail and the floor and that measures at least 1” x 6”
- A supporting post that measures at least 2” x 4” and is placed every 8 ft…1620(a), (b), and (c)
- Post tops and top railings mid-points shall be capable of withstanding a load of 200 lbs. out and down.
- Railing constructed of substitute materials must meet the following requirements:
- The top rail must be smooth surfaced and 42 in. to 45 in. high above the floor, platform, etc.
- Protection between the top rail and the equivalent to that provided by the standard midrail.
- The top rail or midrail scaffolding platforms may be substituted by the X-braces as specified in the scaffolding regulations…1644(a)(6)