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During Use: Fall Protection
SWP 3. Implement Precautions When Using Wire Rope Guardrails

Accounting for the Deflection of Wire Rope

When wire rope is used for top rails and/or middle rails, additional protective features must be introduced. The suspension cable assemblies to which the wire rope guardrails are attached are flexible. When guardrails of wire rope are attached to suspension cable assemblies using wire rope clamps (not tied), the outward and downward deflection of the top and middle cables cannot be minimized.

Key Point Positioning the top cable at 48 inches and the middle cable at 24 inches above platform level and using safety screen to fill the gap will provide an added degree of protection by "containing" worker(s) on the platform.

Photo courtesy of OSHA.  This picture shows staging with wire rope guardrails.

Check distance of top and middle wire rope guardrails.

Photo courtesy of OSHA.

Specifications for Effective Use of Safety Screening

From field tests, a Virginia Ship Repair Association, Inc. (VSRA) engineering study has determined that for the screen to be an effective barrier, it must be attached to the top rail cable, platform, and scaffold suspension ropes with plastic ties at 18-inch intervals. Use flame-resistant, polyethylene fencing material with maximum openings of 1½ by 3½ inches, and plastic wire ties, each with a breaking strength of not less than 740 pounds.

Photo courtesy of VSRA.  This picture shows polyethylene fencing. Photo courtesy of VSRA.  This picture shows a safety-screen system. Photo courtesy of VSRA.  This picture shows a plastic tie.
Polyethylene fencing.
Safety-screen system.

Photos courtesy of VSRA.
Plastic tie.

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