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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

It’s time again for our quarterly What’s Wrong With This Picture series! And to keep things in line with this quarter’s focus on guardrails, we’re keeping things simple for you.

So let’s get to it! Ask yourself...

What's Wrong With This Picture?

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Here, we see a working surveying the scene from the second level of a partially finished structure. There is one very obvious fall hazard here, which our worker is dangerously close to.

He is standing right at the edge, and is not wearing fall protection equipment of any kind.

That’s not good!

So, What’s The Solution?

If we think back to our fall protection training (or this blog post recently published by Guardian), one of the first things that should come to mind when planning a fall protection solution is the fall protection hierarchy.

Our worker could of course use a personal fall protection system (PFAS), which we know requires an anchorage connector, full-body harness, and a connecting device (Remember the ABC's we covered two weeks back?).

But is the use of a PFAS the most preferred option in this case?

It actually is not. The fall protection hierarchy tells us that a Fall Prevention solution is always preferred over a Fall Arrest solution, and this is perfect opportunity to put this into practice. Instead of a PFAS, the worker should simply install a guardrail system to obstruct access to the fall hazard.

Let’s assume that our fall hazard is 12’ across. All we need then is a single 12’ guardrail (or two, 6’ guardrails), and two additional rails to serve as outriggers. Outriggers are required at the endpoints of all guardrail systems, and can take the form of a standard guardrail, or a smaller, outrigger-specific rail option (like this one!). If a complete/non-interrupted guardrail system is needed (or just preferred), such as if the entire second story of our building requires a Fall Prevention system (which it certainly might), then outriggers are not needed.

Did You See Anything Else Wrong With This Picture?

Moving on, we have one more potential issue to address. We can’t see it in the picture, but how did our worker get up there anyway? If there is a stairway, and if that stairway is unfinished, we could very well have another hazard in the form of an unprotected hole in our floor.

But have no fear, guardrails work great for protecting falls through holes as well! Assemble a full guardrail system around the hole, install a guardrail gate to allow our worker a convenient point of entry/exit, and our stairway is now fully protected.

Guardrails Work Wonders

Guardrails work wonders in all manner of fall protection applications. Not only are they easy to install, they eliminate the need to make any penetrations into the substrate, can be reused across multiple jobsites, and eliminate the potential for a worker to fall.

Ask yourself…do you have a job that could use guardrails?