49 CFR § 214.103 - Fall protection, generally.

§ 214.103 Fall protection, generally.

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section, when bridge workers work twelve feet or more above the ground or water surface, they shall be provided and shall use a personal fall arrest system or safety net system. All fall protection systems required by this section shall conform to the standards set forth in § 214.105 of this subpart.


(1) This section shall not apply if the installation of the fall arrest system poses a greater risk than the work to be performed. In any action brought by FRA to enforce the fall protection requirements, the railroad or railroad contractor shall have the burden of proving that the installation of such device poses greater exposure to risk than performance of the work itself.

(2) This section shall not apply to bridge workers engaged in inspection of railroad bridges conducted in full compliance with the following conditions:

(i) The railroad or railroad contractor has a written program in place that requires training in, adherence to, and use of safe procedures associated with climbing techniques and procedures to be used;

(ii) The bridge worker to whom this exception applies has been trained and qualified according to that program to perform bridge inspections, has been previously and voluntarily designated to perform inspections under the provision of that program, and has accepted the designation;

(iii) The bridge worker to whom this exception applies is familiar with the appropriate climbing techniques associated with all bridge structures the bridge worker is responsible for inspecting;

(iv) The bridge worker to whom this exception applies is engaged solely in moving on or about the bridge or observing, measuring and recording the dimensions and condition of the bridge and its components; and

(v) The bridge worker to whom this section applies is provided all equipment necessary to meet the needs of safety, including any specialized alternative systems required.

(c) This section shall not apply where bridge workers are working on a railroad bridge equipped with walkways and railings of sufficient height, width, and strength to prevent a fall, so long as bridge workers do not work beyond the railings, over the side of the bridge, on ladders or other elevation devices, or where gaps or holes exist through which a body could fall. Where used in place of fall protection as provided for in § 214.105, this paragraph (c) is satisfied by:

(1) Walkways and railings meeting standards set forth in the American Railway Engineering Association's Manual for Railway Engineering; and

(2) Roadways attached to railroad bridges, provided that bridge workers on the roadway deck work or move at a distance six feet or more from the edge of the roadway deck, or from an opening through which a person could fall.

(d) This section shall not apply where bridge workers are performing repairs or inspections of a minor nature that are completed by working exclusively between the outside rails, including but not limited to, routine welding, spiking, anchoring, spot surfacing, and joint bolt replacement.

[67 FR 1906, Jan. 15, 2002]

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