Anybody who has worked on scaffolding or other areas with walkways understands the importance of safety when walking in these areas because of the potential of injury due to slipping and falling. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations for walkways protect workers by ensuring they can get through necessary passages and have safe places to navigate the workplace on foot.
OSHA regulations hold employers responsible for making sure employees have exit routes that lead outside, to a walkway with access to the outside or to a refuge area.
Scaffold Walkway Guard Rails
Walkways along scaffolds should have guardrail systems along at least one side of the walkway. OSHA regulations for walkways also require scaffold walkway guardrails to sit within 9.5 inches of the side of the walkway. Scaffolding walkways do not need full floor planks, but the OSHA does hold employers responsible for making sure that scaffolding walkways are safe for workers to walk on.
Narrow Scaffold Walkways
Walkways on scaffolding in areas narrower than 18 inches should be as wide as possible, according to OSHA regulations. OSHA also requires the use of guardrails to protect workers from falling off of narrow walkways, or the use of personal arrest systems to protect workers if they do fall.
OSHA forbids walkways from having slopes steeper than 20 degrees, or one vertical unit per three horizontal units.
Walkways with a slope of at least one vertical unit per eight horizontal units must have cleats to protect workers from slipping. The cleats should not sit more than 14 inches apart from each other and should be securely fastened to the walkway surface.
Walkways that pass over moving conveyors should have guardrails or other adequate protection mechanisms to prevent workers from falling onto conveyors, according to OSHA standards.
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