Washington State University

Revised 4-10
Reviewed 5-13
Environmental Health and Safety

Elevated Work Safety

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Departments are to protect University personnel and students from falling hazards when performing elevated work.

Elevated work includes working from:


Open-Sided Floors and Platforms

Open-sided floors and platforms four feet or more above the adjacent floor or ground level are to include a standard guardrail system. A standard guardrail system consists of posts, an intermediate rail, and a 39-45 inches high top rail.

NOTE: A loading dock is not considered to be an opened-sided floor and therefore does not require standard guardrails.


Contact EH&S for assistance in evaluating open-sided floors and platforms, and the design and construction of guardrail systems.


The department is to protect employees and students working off of a roof from fall hazards by utilizing one of the following:

A safety belt or harness;
A lanyard;
A drop line, or a catenary line; and
Engineered anchorage points.

Fall Protection Plan Form

Supervisors complete Fall Protection Work Plan forms whenever employees are expected to use personal fall restraints or fall arrest systems. To obtain copies of the form, complete and/or print the form master on 3.34.6-7.

Post a copy of the completed form on the job site and route a copy to Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S), campus mail code 1172.


Supervisors and principal faculty are responsible for ensuring employees and students using personal fall protection systems are trained in the restraint and arrest equipment and the contents of the Fall Protection Work Plan. Supervisors are to document such training on Fall Protection Work Plans.


Contact EH&S for assistance with the following (telephone 335-3041):



Departments are responsible for selecting the appropriate type of ladder. Refer to the table below:

Duty Rating Ladder

Maximum Intended
Load (Pounds)

Extra Heavy Duty IA Industry, utilities, contractors 300
Heavy Duty I Industry, utilities, contractors 250
Medium Duty II Painters, offices, light maintenance 225
Light Duty III General household type use 200
NOTE: Maximum intended load is the total load of all persons, equipment, tools and materials.

Use ladders with nonconductive side rails in situations where the ladder could contact uninsulated, energized electric lines or equipment.


Departments are responsible for ensuring that ladders are used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and specifications.

Departments are to ensure that employees and students comply with the following general rules:

A safe angle is established when the distance from the feet of the ladder to the building is approximately one quarter of the working length of the ladder. The working length of the ladder is measured from the feet of the ladder to the top support of the ladder (where the ladder rests against the building).


Department personnel must inspect ladders prior to each use and after damage caused by impact, tip-overs, and exposure to excessive heat.

Departments must affix defective and deficient ladders with Do NOT Use tags and remove such ladders from service.


Supervisors are responsible for training employees and students in the selection, inspection, and use of ladders. Contact EH&S for training materials and resources; telephone 335-3041.


Competent Person

The department is responsible for ensuring that scaffolds are erected, inspected, moved, and dismantled by a competent person. (WAC 296-874-500, WAC 296-874-20004)

A competent person:

General Requirements

Scaffolds are to be equipped with the following:


Departments are responsible for ensuring employees using scaffolds are trained to:

Falling hazards

Electrical hazards

Falling object hazards


Contact Environmental Health and Safety for assistance; telephone 335-3041.



Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees and students comply with the following rules. Employees and students are responsible for:


Departments are responsible for ensuring that only trained and authorized personnel operate aerial lifts. Training is be conducted by a qualified person, which is defined as someone with extensive knowledge, training, and experience with aerial lifts.

The training must include:

Operators are to be retrained if performance indicates retraining is necessary.

Prestart Inspection

Aerial lift operators are to perform a prestart inspection of the following:

A qualified person must examine and/or test any deficient items found during the inspection. All deficient items are to be replaced or repaired before the aerial lift is used.

Workplace Survey

Before using an aerial lift, the operator is responsible for conducting a workplace survey of the area for hazards such as:


Contact EH&S for assistance; telephone 335-3041.

See the PDF form:
3.34.6-7: Fall Protection Work Plan
Complete and/or print as needed.