Hot Topic: Protecting Heavy Workers from Falls

You don't have to go far to find statistics to prove that the North American worker is getting larger. Whatever the reason for this "growing" trend, manufacturers have had to expand beyond the 310-pound capacity for most fall protection equipment.

Randall M. Wingfield, of Gravitec Systems Inc., will examine the unique fall protection challenges heavier workers encounter at today's Concurrent Education Session 641 titled "Fall Protection for the Heavy Worker," from 1-2 p.m.

Recently, Marc Harkins, a product line manager for MSA Custom Products, wrote on this subject for Occupational Health & Safety magazine's July 2009 issue in an article titled "Accommodating Heavy Workers." In the article, Harking writes about the importance of realizing that: "While compliance and user right-to-work are important issues to maintain, employers should consider worker health in the event of a fall. While personal protective equipment may have the strength to stop the worker from falling to ground or the lower level, typically, heavy-worker fall forces will be higher than that of average-weight workers, leading to the need to review the entire fall protection system as well as the individual's overall health and physical condition."

To read this article, which will become available tomorrow, go to www.ohsonline.com and select "Current Issue" under the "Magazine" menu.

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