Under OSHA’s fall-protection rules, does using a fall-protection harness take precedence over other forms of fall protection? For example, if a deck contains openings that would ordinarily have to be covered or protected with guardrails, could workers rely on harnesses and an anchor system that had been previously set up on the roof, or would the openings still have to be covered or railed off?

A. Craig Firl, technical manager at Capital Safety in Red Wing, Minn., responds: To give employers some flexibility, OSHA typically allows more than one option to protect workers from falling. For example, OSHA 1926.501 allows the use of personal fall-arrest systems, covers, or guardrail systems to protect workers on a walking or working surface...

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