Hanging Staging (Marine) >> Use of Staging: Fall Protection SWP 4. Implement Precautions for Blasting or Coating Operations

During Use: Fall Protection

SWP 4. Implement Precautions for Blasting or Coating Operations
Working Without a Guardrail

Workers can fall through gaps between the platform and an adjacent solid structure (hull, bulkhead, or flats) if such gaps are greater than 6 inches. In operations such as blasting and coating, however, it is often impractical to use guardrails on the working sides of marine hanging staging.

A guardrail may be eliminated on a working side of the staging when this gap can be limited to 6 inches and the platform is secured (from movement). Operations performed on the staging that could move the platform away from the structure and widen the gap should be prohibited.

Key Point

Where guardrails are infeasible (i.e., the structure of the vessel prevents their use), employees working more than 5 feet above solid surfaces must be protected by safety harnesses and life lines. In addition, during work over water, a buoyant work vest is required to be worn by personnel [29 CFR Part 1915.71(j)(3)]. Safety harnesses and life lines should also be used where the recommended distance (gap) between the platform and an adjacent solid surface cannot be met. Note: Buoyant work vests (life preservers, life jackets, or work vests) used must be United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved pursuant to 46 CFR part 160 (Type I, II, III, or V PFD) and marked for use as a work vest, for commercial use, or for use on vessels. USCG approval is pursuant to 46 CFR part 160, Coast Guard Lifesaving Equipment Specifications [29 CFR 1915.158(a)].

A personal fall arrest system is the least desirable type of fall protection. Stopping a fall with this equipment can result in serious internal injuries to a worker.

Key Point

A worker can be prevented from falling altogether from an unguarded edge of a working platform if his/her harness is secured to a reliable anchorage [29 CFR Part 1915.159(a)(9)] with a predetermined length of lanyard.

Evaluation and Training

The Qualified Person must carefully evaluate the design and use of personal fall arrest systems for marine hanging staging.

In addition, regardless of the type of system used, workers must receive comprehensive training in the safe use and limitations of such equipment. 29 CFR Part 1915.159(d) contains the training requirements for personal fall arrest systems.