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Development of a unique fall-prevention guardrail system for the construction industry.

Bobick-T; McKenzie-T; Cantis-D
NOIRS 2008-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium, October 21-23, 2008, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Morgantown, WV: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2008 Oct; :A1.3
Introduction: During 1998-2005, an average of 154 workers were killed and 3,374 were seriously injured each year in all U.S. industries after falling from unprotected roof edges or through unguarded holes and skylights. These occurred primarily in construction. Various products are available to guard unprotected roofs, decks, or other interior surfaces. Some are used only on flat surfaces, while others are used on sloped roofs but are adjustable for just a few roof pitches. Methods: Previous NIOSH research investigated the strength of job-built guardrails and two commercial products as perimeter guarding. A laboratory test was developed that used a weighted manikin mounted on a hinged steel frame to evaluate guardrails according to current OSHA regulations that require the top rail to support a 200-lb force. Results: Output from the initial study is a unique patent-pending design of an adjustable roof bracket and guardrail system. Extensive laboratory tests indicated the bracket-rail assembly supported a dynamic load of 435 lbs, more than twice the OSHA requirement of 200 lbs at top rail. The NIOSH system is unique since it can be used to guard roof edges and holes, easily moved upslope where extra protection is needed, and used in the interior to guard stairwell openings or as a temporary stair handrail. The new design is adjustable for seven roof pitches, from 6/12 (27) to 24/12 (63, or Aframe), three of which are steeper than 45. Discussions have been initiated with potential manufacturers to establish a partnership to produce this safety device commercially. Conclusions: When commercially available, residential and industrial-commercial construction workers will have an all-purpose fall-prevention system. If used routinely, it has the potential of preventing dozens of deaths and hundreds of serious injuries caused by falling from heights.
Construction-workers; Construction-industry; Construction-equipment; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Engineering-controls; Control-technology
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NOIRS 2008-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium, October 21-23, 2008, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania