OSHA Requirements for Bosun Chairs – Quick Reference

If you work in construction, chances are you’ve had to use a bosun chair at some point. And if you’ve had to use a bosun chair, chances are you’ve also had to comply with OSHA’s requirements for them. But what exactly are those requirements? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have the time to read through OSHA’s regulations. That’s why we’ve put together this quick reference guide.

What are the OSHA requirements for bosun chairs?

Bosun chairs are not specifically mentioned in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulations. However, OSHA standards do apply to their use. Bosun chairs may also be termed ‘boatswain chairs’, and are specifically discussed in OSHA regulations. Employers must ensure that bosun chairs are used safely, and workers must be properly trained in their use.

Bosun chairs are suspended platforms used for working at heights. They are typically used by workers who need to perform tasks such as painting, window washing, or repairing facade damage. Bosun chairs must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Employers must also ensure that workers using bosun chairs are properly trained in their use. Training should include how to set up and use the chair safely, as well as how to avoid hazards while working in the chair.

Here are specific OSHA regulations related to bosun chairs (boatswain chairs):

What are the different types of bosun chairs?

There are three different types of bosun chairs:

  • Type I: A Type I bosun chair is a seated harness that is used with a fall arrest system. The chair must have a backrest, and the seat must be at least 18 inches wide. The chair must also be equipped with a fall arrest lanyard that is attached to the chair at the front and back.
  • Type II: A Type II bosun chair is a standing harness that is used with a fall arrest system. The chair must have a backrest, and the seat must be at least 18 inches wide. The chair must also be equipped with a fall arrest lanyard that is attached to the chair at the front and back.
  • Type III: A Type III bosun chair is a suspended platform that is used without a fall arrest system. The platform must be at least 18 inches wide, and it must be equipped with side rails or similar devices to prevent the user from falling off of the platform.

What are the benefits of using a bosun chair?

Bosun chairs have a variety of benefits that make them an attractive option for many different types of work.

First, they provide a high degree of mobility, allowing the user to move around the work area with ease. They also offer a high degree of comfort, thanks to their padded seats and backrests. Additionally, bosun chairs tend to be very sturdy and durable, meaning they can withstand heavy use without breaking down. Finally, bosun chairs are typically very affordable, making them a wise investment for any business or individual who needs to perform work at heights on a regular basis.

How to properly use a bosun chair?

Bosun chairs shall meet the following requirements:

  • Be designed and constructed of materials that will not fail under the expected loads;
  • Have a backrest and be equipped with body belts or full-body harnesses;
  • Have spreader bars or equivalent devices to prevent the chair from tipping sideways;
  • Be securely attached to the supporting structure; and
  • Be capable of being raised or lowered by means of a line.

What are the safety precautions to take when using a bosun chair?

When using a bosun chair, always take the following safety precautions:

  • Wear a safety harness that is properly fitted and secured.
  • Inspect the chair and all hardware before each use.
  • Never use the chair if it is damaged or defective in any way.
  • Do not overload the chair.
  • Keep the area around the chair clean and free of debris.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times while using the chair.

What are the common mistakes made when using a bosun chair?

When used properly, bosun chairs are an effective and safe way to perform work at height. However, there are some common mistakes that can lead to accidents and injuries.

Bosun chairs should only be used for one person at a time. If more than one person is using the chair, it can tip over or break, leading to serious injuries. Another common mistake is not securing the chair properly. The chair should be securely attached to the building or structure with either a rope or chain. If it is not secured properly, the chair can slip or fall, again leading to serious injury. Finally, it is important to make sure that the area around the chair is clear of debris and obstacles. If there are items in the way, they can fall on the person in the chair and cause serious injury.

How to troubleshoot bosun chair problems?

The following are potential problems that can occur while using a bosun chair, as well as tips on how to troubleshoot and resolve them:

1. The chair is unstable and tips over easily:

  • Check that the chair is level and on firm, level ground before use.
  • Check that the weight limit of the chair is not exceeded.
  • Make sure the person in the chair is sitting all the way back in the seat, with their back against the backrest, and their feet resting flat on the footrests.

2. The chair is difficult to get into or out of:

  • Check that the backrest is not too high or too low for the person using it.
  • Make sure the person using the chair does not have any medical conditions that make it difficult for them to get in and out of the chair.

3. The person in the chair feels unsteady or unstable:

  • Make sure that all of the safety harnesses are correctly fastened and adjusted so that they are snug but not uncomfortably tight.
  • Make sure the person in the chair is sitting all the way back in the seat, with their back against the backrest, and their feet resting flat on the footrests.

4. The ropes or pulleys become tangled:

  • Stop using the chair immediately and do not try to untangle the ropes or pulleys while someone is still in the chair this could cause them to fall out of it. Call a professional to untangle the ropes or pulleys for you.

Where to find more information on bosun chairs?

You can find more information on safety regulations related to bosun chairs on OSHA’s website.

NEXT UP: How To Make & Tie a Bosun Chair

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Rebecca Ross
About Rebecca Ross

Rebecca Ross an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) consultant who runs her own occupational safety consultancy. She focuses on hazardous materials, warehouse safety, fire safety, lab safety, fall protection, head protection and other workplace safety topics. Learn more about Rebecca here or connect with her on Twitter | LinkedIn | Medium

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