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OSHA vs. CAL-OSHA Safety Railing Requirements: Key Differences Every Safety Professional Should Know

As a safety professional, your role is crucial in ensuring the safety of workers and visitors in the workplace. One of the most critical measures in promoting safety is the installation of safety railings to prevent falls and protect individuals from harm. However, understanding the differences between the safety railing requirements set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CAL-OSHA) can be challenging. It is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of both sets of regulations to ensure that your workplace meets the necessary safety standards.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) has specific requirements for rooftop railing protection under its fall protection standards. Cal-OSHA requires that employers provide fall protection for employees who work at heights of 30 inches or more in general industry workplaces, and at six feet or more in construction workplaces.

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Key Takeaways

  • CAL-OSHA is responsible for enforcing workplace safety regulations in California.
  • The standards for guardrails and railings set by Cal-OSHA are much more stringent than those set by federal OSHA regulations.
  • According to CAL-OSHA, a guardrail system must be installed if the edge of a roof is 30 inches or higher.
  • The railing solution cannot interfere with any window washing equipment.
  • Additionally, the top rail of a guardsrail system must be between 42 inches and 45 inches in height, with a midrail 21 inches to 27 inches below that.
  • It's important to follow these safety requirements when choosing a railing system for use in California.
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The specific requirements for rooftop railing protection under Cal/OSHA include:

  • A rooftop railing must be provided on all open-sided floors, platforms, runways, ramps, and walkways that are four feet or more above the next lower level.
  • All guardrails and other permissible types, including their connections and anchorage must be capable of withstanding a force of at least 200 pounds applied in any direction, and must be installed at a height of 42 inches (+/- 3 inches) from the walking/working surface.
  • All guardrails and other permissible types, including their connections and anchorage, shall be designed for a live load of 20 pounds per linear foot applied either horizontally or vertically downward at the top rail. Dimensional details of railing members of a few types of construction which comply with this strength requirement are given hereinafter in subsection (c).
  • The rooftop railing must have a top rail and an intermediate rail. The top rail must be able to withstand a force of at least 200 pounds applied in any direction, and must be between 39 and 45 inches above the walking/working surface. The intermediate rail must be installed midway between the top rail and the walking/working surface.
  • The rooftop railing must be able to resist any action that could dislodge it or overturn it.
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Is Kee Guard CAL-OSHA compliant?

It is crucial to ensure that the fall protection railing you choose has undergone testing and meets or exceeds the compliance standards. Keep in mind that OSHA and CAL-OSHA set only the minimum safety requirements. However, the good news is that Kee Guard Safety Railing, has undergone third-party testing and can be designed to exceed the minimum standards set by OSHA and CAL-OSHA.

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Kee Safety is Here to Help

Kee Safety is your trusted partner in ensuring compliance with CAL-OSHA requirements, as we understand the importance of workplace safety and meeting stringent regulations. Our team of dedicated experts is ready to provide tailored solutions, guidance, and support to help you navigate the complexities of Cal-OSHA standards. With our comprehensive range of safety products and services, we are committed to fostering a secure work environment while minimizing risks and maximizing productivity. Let Kee Safety be your go-to resource for achieving and maintaining CAL-OSHA compliance, so you can focus on what matters most: the success and well-being of your business and employees.


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