Know the Standards: OSHA Fall Protection Compliance

Most informed industry professionals are aware that OSHA has emphasized the importance of awareness and compliance to fall protection safety standards that are designed to reduce injury risk and fatalities from falls from heights.  What may be less clear to business owners in both construction and general industry is OSHA’s dedication to proactively prosecute violations to the letter of the law.  Several recent examples of OSHA’s commitment to fall protection injury prevention have shed light on risk areas for small business owners to be aware of.

OSHA Fall Protection Policy Enforcement

In February this year, OSHA drafted and delivered a warning to the communication tower industry of the increasing fatality rate in that industry, it’s relationship to fall protection, and how strictly OSHA will be enforcing fall protection standards as a result.  Another example of OSHA’s firmness on fall protection is in their willingness to prosecute compliance gaps even when a business has taken significant precautions to protect employees.  OSHA attempted to prosecute Ryder Transportation Services for an injury to a subcontractor at their site for a fall fatality through a roof skylight that was safely inaccessible to employees.

OSHA Fall Protection Standards

The most important point for concerned business owners in light of OSHA’s increased emphasis on fall protection compliance is their strictness and strategy for standard enforcement.  OSHA may potentially cite your business not only for injuries resulting from a failure to provide fall protection, but also in cases where the business did not conduct an appropriate hazard assessment, even at seemingly low-risk heights of 4′. This result is effectively a double whammy effect for a single employee fall incident.

As a result, while it’s important to provide proper fall protection, it’s even more critical to conduct and document the proper precautionary procedures for any potential risk area, to save money and administrative battles in the case that a fall injury does occur.  Here’s a brief summary of OSHA’s fall protection standards policy, with this in mind.  Of course, anyone subject to OSHA violations should fully research the topic on their own with OSHA or a certified compliance consultant.

Construction Industry Fall Protection Compliance

Found in Section 1926.501, these can generally be summed up to require businesses to provide fall protection (guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems) on walking or working surfaces with an ‘unprotected side or edge which is six feet or more above the lower‘.

General Industry Fall Protection Compliance

General industry standards are also stringent, with Section 1910.23 stated to include ‘every wall opening from which there is a drop of more than four feet‘, with that also applying to open-side floor or platforms.  This requirement stipulates that risk areas be guarded by a standard railing or other means of fall protection.

And remember, the typical fall protection standards citations could be coupled with a citation for Section 1910.132 for failing to conduct a hazard assessment.

Fall Protect Your Business for Compliance

The application of these OSHA standards and enforcement policy strategies can thus be applied to a variety of settings, ranging from loading docks and flatbed truck beds to onsite or offsite machinery and equipment.  Business owner/operators should be aware that even for fall hazards of 4′ or less, a hazard assessment must be conducted and fall protection compliance equipment provided.

Trucker® & IAS Custom Access Fall Protection Products

Of course, we at Innovative Access Solutions are well-prepared to help with your flatbed truck and loading dock fall protection, starting with safety engineered Trucker trailer access ladders and working platforms.  In addition, IAS has a great deal of experience providing custom fall protection access equipment to machinery/equipment and multi-level walking or working surfaces at manufacturing facilities, dockyards, construction and mining sites, and public/retail settings.

To learn how IAS can design a fall protection access solution for your business, call our engineering team at (800) 388-6884 or submit our Contact form on

Combine Summer Safety & Fun with Residential Marine Access

We have highlighted several products that help to prevent injuries in marine, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and other industrial settings. While we are all relishing in the summer sun and fun, we would like to present for your enjoyment a selection of safe recreational and residential marine access products.  IAS® produces Tooner boat ladders and dock access products for people and pets, and has designed access products and seating for residential pools, steam rooms, docks, decks and more.

Marine Recreation Access

IAS® is the producer of Tooner pontoon boat ladders, Docker dock ladders, and the Dog Step dock ladder. Each of these marine access products are designed with safety features including slip resistant tread, handrails for 3 points of contact, ergonomical staircase steps and a durable build.

Marine Recreational Access LadderMarine Recreation Access Ladder for DockLengths, specifications and other details for Tooner, Docker and Dog Step Ladders available online at the IAS® Marine Series web store.

Aluminum Benches

IAS® provides all weather aluminum benches that are ideal for docks, gardens, public areas, and more. Lightweight aluminum benches prevent splinters, can be mounted to any surface and powder coated to match a color scheme.  Benches come standard at 4′ or 6′ and are available up to 12′ with available handrails, colors and other options.

Aluminum Dock BenchAluminum Bench in Public Area

Additional details about benches available at the IAS® online store.

Custom Residential Access

IAS® has produced custom pool ladders and access products for residential settings.  Potential custom products include pivoting ladders with handrails in various sizes, colors and mounting options, seating for steam rooms or walk-in showers, stairs for deck or porch access, and to meet specialty specifications and requirements.

Residential Pool Marine Access Ladder

Residential Steam Shower Seat

For information about recreational and residential marine access products, contact IAS® at (800) 388-6884  or visit the contact page at

Have a safe and fun summer at the lake, pool, ocean, or watering hole nearest you!

Celebrating 15 Years of The Trucker® (…and Still Trucking!)

In 2014 Innovative Access Solutions (IAS®) is excited to celebrate 15 years of The Trucker® Series, made possible by a focus on safety and customer relationships. We would like to thank our loyal customer base for helping us achieve the goal of making The Trucker® an established and respected name in fall protection safety, and we invite you to contact the IAS® sales team to learn more.


The Trucker® Trailer Access

The Trucker® Series through the Years

September 1999
— The Trucker I 6900 flatbed trailer ladder introduced

2004: The original Cast Aluminum mounting hooks changed to CNC Billet Aluminum, an ‘unbreakable’ hook that added durability and improved safety to The Trucker I

2007: Roll Tarp Trucker was introduced, designed to provide access to Tarp Trailers

2007-2009: With the brand strengthened as a result of the ‘unbreakable’ mounting hooks and having developed several strong relationships with large established businesses, Trucker® began to take off.  Drop Deck Trucker was introduced and the four step ECO Trucker was developed and ANSI rated @ 375 lbs.

2010: The 4 Step Trucker ladder was created for access to crane trucks and taller trailers

2011: As The Trucker® grew, Storage and Mounting Options were developed

  • Ladder Storage Racks were developed in Upright and Shelf variations
  • The Utility Trucker was introduced as a mounted ladder option that pivots up 180⁰
  • A Steel Mounting Bracket was developed for mounting ladders without pockets

2011-2012: Mobile Flatbed Work Platforms with Safety Rails were engineered as a custom product request and became a standard product in use at several Construction, Transportation, and Manufacturing companies

  • October 2011: The 4’ Platform designed and ANSI rated at 3-Man (3000 lb.)
  • August 2012: 8’ Work Platform designed and ANSI rated at 3-Man (3000 lb.)

2013: All Trucker Series ladders were ANSI rated at 375 lbs. Type IAA Special Duty, the highest available Extra Heavy Duty rating for specialty ladders

2014: This year The Trucker® Series was granted an official trademark, new products are in development, and we are looking forward to 15 more years and beyond!

Today The Trucker® Series of ladders, storage racks and work platforms is capable of equipping most any truck fleet or stationary truck with fall protection equipment that is convenient, versatile and durable. This growth is in large part a result of relationships with customers that were willing to share their workplace access safety goals.

Celebrate with the 15 Years of Trucker® Promotion

Part of the power of customer relationships comes from a willingness to share the wealth and spread the word.  With that in mind, we are offering a 15% Discount off a single Trucker® Ladder or Storage Rack.  Simply apply the following Coupon Code prior to September 30, 2014 to join our celebration and save.

Apply COUPON CODE: 15YEARS at The Trucker® Online Store

ASSE Safety Conference 2014, June 8th-11th in Orlando, FL

The ASSE Safety Conference 2014 is set to kick off Sunday, June 8th at the Orange County Convention Center (West Building) in Orlando, Florida. The annual event features a complete set of seminars, roundtables, and events that only an organization such as ASSE can offer.  The conference schedule is packed with opportunities for industry members, students, executives and other interested parties to learn, network, and enjoy a weekend in sunny Florida. Scheduled sessions are categorized based on experience level to help attendees target events that best suit their skill level and knowledge.

Safety 2014 Conference Events & Seminars

Pre-Conference Safety Training Seminars for ASSE Safety Conference 2014 began on June 5th and continue through Sunday June 8th for those arriving early . Group Meetings for industry members occur in the early evening on Sunday and Monday to provide the opportunity to network and collaborate.  The events end on Wednesday June 11th, with the morning highlight being an Executive Summit at 9:15 AM.  Events are structured for a variety of personalities, including a Golf Outing on Sunday, NightOut at WonderWorks, WISE (Women in Safety Engineering) Retreat, and daily Wellness Walks.

ASSE Safety Conference 2014 Trip Planning

We encourage attendees to download the Safety 2014 App to plan your agenda, view maps and guides, take notes, and more.  Prospective attendees can register online and plan lodging and shuttles at the Safety 2014 website.  Registration fees include group discounts, member/non-member rates, and rates for attending only a portion of the event.  The ASSE Safety Conference 2014 customer service line is (847) 699-2929 and will be available until 5 PM Friday for last minute questions.  The Safety 2014 site also provides a convenient FAQ sitemap with answers and links to any foreseeable topic.

Visit IAS at Safety 2014 Booth #532

Visit IAS at ASSE Safety Conference 2014 at Booth #532IAS will be attending the ASSE Safety Conference 2014 and exhibiting The Trucker Series of Ladders.  Products available for exhibit will include Trucker LaddersWork Platforms, and Ladder Storage Racks.  We will have multiple representatives available to provide specifications and other details.  Our Custom Product Development manager will also be on hand to discuss any safety access needs you may have.  We hope to see you there!

Fall Prevention Through Design: A Case Study from ASSE

Putting safety first applies not only in day to day operations, but also in the planning stages of new projects, investments and expansions.  In 2012 ANSI/ASSE created a consensus standard to promote this mentality.  Prevention Through Design as a concept in work safety began in the 1940’s and today has gained enough momentum and regulatory support to provide several models that prove its effectiveness.  A recent article at charts the effectiveness of engineering safety controls in the design process while considering the defeatability of safety hazard risk.

The most effective controls include elimination, substitution and engineering solutions, each ideally suited to be planned in the design phase of new projects.  Doing so will provide safety, productivity, and cost benefits.  In fact, the cost of implementing fall prevention through design can be thousands of times less expensive than the same solution integrated post completion.  Compromised solutions are often less effective, leaving hazard risks and associated costs.

Fall Prevention Design Case Study

The ASSE article provides a case study from a petrochemical organization building a new offshore platform.  The company had experienced the challenges of implementing fall prevention after the design stage and instead chose to hire a fall protection consultant early on to assist the engineering design team.  The combined expertise resulted in fall prevention safety measures that focused on productivity and risk abatement.  The process consisted of the following steps.

  1. Kickoff Meeting with Design team
  2. Virtual Fall Hazard Risk Assessment
  3. Design Team Workshops
  4. Specification Binder for Hazard Abatements
  5. Follow-Through During Construction Process

The benefits of foreseeing and engineering fall prevention through design are long term: safety advantages, productivity gains, and ultimately lower costs.  The case study resulted in hazard risk controls addressing elevated platforms, floor openings, ladders, and stair guardrails, helping to prevent the need for PPE and optimize processes, equipment placement and usage.  Indirect long term benefits included ‘less equipment purchases, less training and fewer elements to manage.’

Innovative Access Fall Prevention Design

Contacting a consultant while engineering an offshore platform was effective for the company from the ASSE case study.  The consultant costs were compared favorably to erecting scaffolding, the cost of which would have been required to address just one of the safety risks post-completion.  Innovative Access Solutions is available to contribute similarly during the design or redesign stages at your organization.  IAS has worked with Fortune 500 companies as well as SMB businesses to design solutions that provide long term cost and productivity benefits and accomplish your safety goals.  IAS designs ladders, platforms and fall prevention equipment and has provided solutions for a range of industries.  For a brief review of our access solutions, visit us at  Or call (800) 388-6884 to schedule an appointment with our team.

Shipyard Work Safety

Shipyard work safety programs for private sector businesses are generally under the jurisdiction of Federal OSHA regulations.  The shipyard workplace environment presents a wide range of  injury hazards including confined spaces, scaffolds and ladders, rigging, and equipment associated with painting, welding, and material handling.  To help reduce the risks affiliated with these environments, Personal Protective Equipment is frequently recommended.  OSHA has published a complete guide to Shipyard Industry Safety Standards with recommendations for small, medium, or large businesses.

Of particular interest to this blog are the shipyard safety standards provided for Scaffolds, Ladders, and Other Working Surfaces.  In this post we will take a look at the training recommendations for work safety Hazard Identification, Assessment and Control, and also provide information about access products to meet OSHA requirements at shipyards.

Hazard Identification and Controls

We have discussed the importance of work hazard assessments on this blog.  The published OSHA standards cover the basic policies of inspecting the workplace, evaluating the level of risk, and working with employees and management to identify and determine solutions to work hazards.  In addition, OSHA provides valuable recommendations regarding how to manage risk associated with identified hazards in the short term while longer term solutions are being developed.  Placing priority on hazard abatement timeframe is important, and interim solutions should be considered.

OSHA also emphasizes the importance of systematic processes, from checking injury logs in support of hazard identification, to using checklists during inspections and breaking down jobs into tasks to determine root causes of accidents or hazards.  The Shipyard Standards document additionally provides a hierarchy of hazard prevention controls, starting with engineering and work practice improvements.  These involve ‘physical changes to jobs’ and are the top level priority.  When engineering controls are not feasible, or in support of engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment are to be considered next in the hazard prevention hierarchy.

Custom Shipyard Access Products from IAS

OSHA provides detailed requirements for scaffolds, ladders, deck openings and edges, and access to vessels, dry docks/marine railways, and cargo spaces.  Innovative Access Solutions has provided shipyard work safety access products for each of these applications.  A few of the OSHA-referenced access solutions include portable metal ladders, gangways, guardrails, platforms, access to lower levels, and ladders for accessing cargo areas or confined spaces.  IAS is experienced, knowledgeable and available to help meet your shipyard access needs.  Contact IAS at (800) 388-6884 to inquire about shipyard access products.