Today's safety experts believe accident prevention, training, and fall protection are inseparable. Scaffolding safety is a critical concern for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the masonry and scaffolding industries, and particularly for the workers themselves.

Scaffolding accidents have many causes: falling objects, electrocution, falls during assembly/disassembly, falls while working, overturns, falls while climbing, and construction deficiencies.

Shock-absorbing lanyards quickly have become the modern standard in fall protection. Lanyards have tensile stress between 5750 and 10,000 pounds. The best lanyards are made of tough polyester webbing and reduce the arrest forces on a worker during a fall to 900 pounds, which is half the maximum allowance, according to OSHA, and translates to an acceptable impact to your body.

The D-ring is the main connection point to any harness. A front D-ring attached to the chest strap is critical for safe connection to a ladder-climbing safety mechanism, such as a fixed cable or rail system. A back D-ring connected to a lanyard or self-retracting lifeline will keep you in an upright position in case of a fall. Side D-rings generally are used for restraint and work positioning.

When anchorage is existing construction is limited, horizontal lifelines are the way to go. A cable is affixed securely at the ends, and you simply hook your lanyard to the cable. These lifelines are versatile and double as handrails for extra support.

Lifelines are popular alternatives to lanyards, extending and retracting automatically. Self-retracting lifelines provide the best mobility without the disadvantages of tripping, snagging, or dragging hazards in an already risky work environment.

If you agree that the scaffolding fall statistics are unacceptable, let's begin to work together toward greater worker safety. Contact with your thoughts and ideas.