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OSHA regulations and anchor points

Some California employees and employers may have misread a regulation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that deals with fall protection. Many people believe that an anchor point must be able to support 5,000 pounds per person or it is useless. However, this is not exactly what the regulation states.

While this is one requirement, the regulation offers an alternative. The anchorage can also be part of a fall arrest system that has a minimum safety factor of 2.

It is not clear how OSHA arrived at the 5,000 pound figure. A 220-pound worker who falls might incur a force of between 900 and 1,800 pounds. The force of a fall will also be reduced by having a fall arrest system in place. A fixed ladder, a roof truss and some other fixtures may meet this requirement. However, this does not mean that these capacities should be calculated haphazardly. It is important to review technical specifications and manufacturer paperwork. In fact, in some cases, it may turn out that even the OSHA figure of 5,000 is insufficient. For example, for weights of 310 and above or for horizontal lifelines, there must be adjustments upwards. Going above and beyond OSHA requirements is generally a reasonably safe proposition.

However, in some cases, whether or not safety regulations are followed, accidents may occur. Workers who are injured in accidents at work, regardless of who is at fault, are generally eligible for workers' compensation. This compensation can be significant for workers and their families if the worker has a long recovery period that includes medical expenses and wage loss. Workers' compensation may also be available to workers who are permanently disabled. People who are injured on the job might want to talk to an attorney about their rights.

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