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Excerpt from Mushroom Style Plastic Rebar Covers Used For Impalement Protection - OSHA Standards Interpretation and Compliance Letter 05/29/1997
"Tests designed by California OSHA were conducted that entailed dropping
sand-filled canvas bags onto rebar protected by standard mushroom caps. Weights
of the bags ranged from 140 to 160 pounds, and the bags were dropped from three,
five and seven feet. The mushroom caps provided absolutely NO protection."
"Manufacturers of the mushroom caps agree that those caps were designed
to provide SCRATCH PROTECTION ONLY and were never intended to prevent
impalement, even at grade."
"Considering the serious nature of the hazard, the standard
mushroom-style plastic rebar caps should not be used for protection against
impalement. Protective devices capable of withstanding at least 250 pounds
dropped from a height of ten feet should be used. Although there are no
'approved' mushroom caps on the market, steel reinforced covers and wooden
troughs are available, and have been approved by California OSHA and recognized
by the California AGC to meet the design criteria."
Bear in mind that, where possible, fall protection is still the best
solution. A fall from 10 feet or more on to a wooden trough or steel reinforced
cap, even if it doesn't result in impalement, is still likely to produce serious