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Fall Protection Safety Net Systems

If safety net systems are in use, they must meet the following criteria to be considered safe:

  • They must be installed as closely beneath the walking surface as possible, and not more than 30 feet beneath it.
  • If the vertical distance between the walking surface and the nets is less than 5 feet, the safety nets must project horizontally outward from the surface at least 8 feet as follows:
    • If the distance is between 5 feet and 10 feet, the safety nets must project outward by 10 feet.
    • If the distance is over 10 feet, the safety nets must project outward by 13 feet.
  • The employer must certify the safety of the nets by dropping a 400-pound bag of sand from the highest walking surface and verifying that the nets will not break or hit the surface below them. This test must be done at the time of installation and repeated every six months.
  • The employer must keep a record of safety net testing that includes the date and signature of the person who conducted the test.

Additionally, safety net system criteria must include the following:

  • The safety nets must be inspected once per week and any time something happens that could affect their safety (such as sustaining a heavy fall or having a sharp object drop on them).
  • Any objects that fall on the safety nets must be removed as soon as possible.
  • The openings in the net or mesh may not be larger than 6 inches on any side.
  • Safety nets must be surrounded by a strong rope or webbing.
  • The connections between panels in a safety net must be at least as strong as the net or webbing itself.

To learn more about Fall Protection visit our OSHA Construction Fall Protection Online Training & Certification Course web page.

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