Dipil
Safety Consultant
Kesava Pillai
Occupational Safety & Health
Chaitra.P
Painting

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Dear All,
Ours is Ceramic industry. I want to know the limit of working at height without safety belt. Meaning at what height & above safety belt should be worn. Are there any such regulations please let me know.

From India, Bangalore
Dear Chaitra,

A suitable question at this juncture.

Many people have doubts about fall protection requirements. Most of them seek shelter under regulations.

Of course regulations are helpful and few areas cannot be managed without the stringent statutes.

My answers are with a broader perspective and in an industrial context.

A person can fall on the same level or from any height. We consider fall from height so seriously though falling on same level cannot be taken lightly.

Here fall protection needed at height is considered.

We can protect a person from falling to a lower level by 1) fall protection system and 2) fall arrest system.

Examples of fall protection system are parapet on a terrace, guard rails, barricading or covering of opening at height and so on.

Examples of fall arrest system are full body harness with lanyard, positioning devices, nets and so on.

Here the question is at what height we need fall protection ?

Answer is any height from where a person can fall and sustain injury.

This answer is not satisfactory.

Here we have to analyze. A fall from what height can cause severe injury or fatality.

A fall from 0.3 meters to 1.2 meters seldom result in a fatality. However falls from a height of 1.8 meters mostly results in severe head injuries and fatality.

With the above; one can easily conclude that over 1.8 meters we need fall protection and it is as simple as that.

Now the regulations vary from country to country. In India it is over 3 meters.

In USA, as per OSHA, for general industry it is over 1.2 meters and in construction 1.8 meters.

Coming back to your posting, please note that the use of safety belt is not advised and better avoid it. We have to advise use of full body harness only and there are solid reasons behind it.

At what height you can work without safety harness? Answer is; at any height where other means of fall protection system is provided !

For using a safety harness with a 1.8 meter lanyard the minimum free fall distance should be + 4 meters. However with a shock absorbing lanyard the minimum free fall distance should be 6 meters without which use of safety harness is of no use.

Hope you make it.

Regards,
Kesava Pillai

From India, Kollam
Dear Sir,
Thanks for the clarification. one more thing I want to know that you have mentioned that as per regulation in India over & above 3 meter is considered as potential for falling & safety measures are to be taken. Where do I get this in written i.e. which act states it. The reason I am asking this is, I am preparing the safety standards my for factory. So I want to know about regulation part of it. And also help me to provide some websites where do I get infos related to safety & health. I am new to safety, hence I need support seniors like you.
Kindly help me sir
Regards
Chaitra

From India, Bangalore
Dear Kesava Sir

Thanks for yet another wonderful posting.

Dear Chaitra

Its nice to know that you are making a standard for Work at Height. You already got a very specific answers to your 1st query from Kesava Pillai Sir.

Now regarding the citation from legislation regarding the permitted height from where a Safety Harness is required. It differ from state to state in India. The specific reference you can find in the state factories rules and if its not there then you can go behind your company rules. Many companies in India keep a policy of 1.5m or 1.8 m or 2 m, etc...

Some examples from the state factories rules:

1. Punjab Factories Rules 1952

When any person is required or allowed to work at a place not affording adequate hold and foothold and from which he is liable to fall through a height of or more than 1.80 metre, he shall be provided with a safety belt fitted with leather shoulder straps of not less than 5 cm. In width with a `D Ring at the back and a rope fastened thereon. The other end of the rope shall be securely tied or hooked to same suitable rigid fixture to ensure the safety of the workers. In case it is not possible to tie or hook the other end of the rope of the safety belt to a suitable rigid fixture. The worker shall be provided with some other type of safety belt to ensure the safety of the worker. It shall be the responsibility of the occupier and manager of the Factory to ensure that every worker engaged on such operation shall use these belts and other safety equipment. These belts and other equipment shall be examined and declared fit for use every six months by a competent person. The record of examination of these belts and other equipment by the said competent person shall be maintained in a bound register which shall be produced on demand by an inspector.

2. Goa Factories Rules, 1985

Whenever any workers is engaged on work at a place from which he is liable to fall more than 2 meters, he shall be provided with safety belts equipped with life lines

which are secured with a minimum of slacks, to a fixed structure unless any other effective means such as provisions of guard rails or ropes are taken to prevent his

falling

So please refer your specific state factories rules for this citation.

Hope this help.

From India
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