Solution Summary: Using Debris Nets
Debris nets are designed to catch construction materials (scraps, nails, tools, falling concrete) to prevent them from potentially injuring workers or pedestrians below. Debris nets can be classified by two types. Vertical netting systems are used to contain debris and may serve as a visible guardrail. Perimeter netting systems, also known as personnel safety nets, can be used to catch fallen tools, material and debris as well as personnel.
(Photo courtesy of ELCOSH)
Debris net. (Photo courtesy of Guardian Fall Protection Inc.)
A struck by falling object hazard occurs when the source of injury is an object falling from an elevation to a lower level, including instances where the injured person is struck-by, crushed, pinned, or caught under a falling object. Working from height can expose workers below to potential falling tools, material and debris. This type of struck by injuries can result in severe injuries or death.
How Risks are Reduced:
The risk of injury from being struck by falling objects is reduced by using debris nets which are designed to contain or catch debris.
When equipment or materials are piled higher than the top edge of a standard toe-board on a guardrail, debris nets must be installed from the top rail to deck level to provide overhead protection for employees working below. When properly installed from a top rail and secured directly to deck level, some nets satisfy OSHA requirements for mid-rail and toe-board protection, as well as overhead protection.
The installation of nets requires careful planning. Workers who are involved in installing and removing safety or debris nets must be protected from fall hazards by aerial lifts, personal fall arrest equipment, or a personal restraint system. Nets and/or horizontal lifelines can provide many solutions to fall hazards if they are planned, installed, and used.
When selecting debris nets, ensure they are compliant with all applicable OSHA 1926 Subpart M regulations.
In cases where personnel safety nets are used, they shall be lined with debris netting of sufficient strength and size to contain tools and materials capable of causing injury.
Mark Fullen, CSP and Kristen Savage - West Virginia University