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Fall Protection Regulations - OSHA, ANSI and IBC Codes

person falling signChoosing Safety

Employees in material handling and manufacturing are often at risk to falls when they are on the job, especially from elevated work platforms.Fall protection is one of the top OSHA violations year after year. Average worker's compensation claims for injury are over $36,000, and fatalities can cost a company over $1.4 million. Falls that lead to severe injury not only lead  to physical, emotional and financial pain for the employees but also the employer.

OSHA and IBC have published regulations for fall protection, and ANSI has published standards for securing pallet drop areas. We are happy to report that all of our safety gate models - even the custom applications - comply with these regulations and standards.

OSHA Walking-Working Surface Regulations

OSHA's Walking-Working Surface Regulation 1910 Subpart D requires a barrier be in place to guard any opening on platforms elevated four feet (4') or higher on which an employee is working, and that the barrier be in place when the opening is not in use for handling materials.

A toe board (or equivalent) should be provided when there is exposure below to falling materials.

A standard railing consists of a top rail 42” off of the deck and an intermediate rail and must withstand a 200 pound force applied in any direction except upward.

Only a dual-gate system ensures compliance with OSHA because a dual-gate system will always have a barrier in place.  A dual-gate system does not depend on an operator to remember and make an effort to close the barrier.

Single-barrier systems that meet OSHA specifications only meet OSHA when the barriers are closed.  Barriers held open by a staged pallet (as is the case with a swinging gate) are in violation of OSHA.

ANSI Standards

ANSI MH 28.3-2009 in section 6.4.3 requires a barrier to be in place to secure pallet drop areas at all times - even while the area is in use for handling materials.  Single barrier systems such as swing, sliding or lift-out gates DO NOT meet the standard.

Only a dual-gate system meets ANSI because a barrier is in place even during the active loading/unloading of material.

Swinging gates, sliding gates, chains, removable railing and netting do not meet ANSI standard.


The International Building Code (IBC) is a tool to preserve public health and safety which provides safeguards from hazards associated with the built environment. It addresses the design and installation of materials that meet or exceed public health and safety goals. The IBC is revised on a three-year cycle, and the next update will be written in 2018.