Rebar/ Impalement Protection
Steel reinforcing bars—rebar—are a common safety hazard on construction sites. These steel bars can cut, scratch, pierce, and impale workers, which can result in serious internal injuries and death. To eliminate the hazard of impalement, rebar and other projections on a worksite should be guarded or covered. Regardless of the impalement protection method used, it is crucial to always wear proper fall protection equipment when working above rebar or other sharp protrusions.
Protective Guard Systems
Guarding from rebar impalement hazards is important when rebar is situated around, below, or above any working areas. Using steel-reinforced rebar caps to cover the protruding ends of rebar is a highly effective method of reducing the danger of worker impalement. It is important to make sure rebar caps are sturdy and level when they are applied.
Types of Rebar Caps
- Square Rebar Caps: Protection is provided by the metal plate inside the flat part of the caps. They should be at least 4” square.
- Round Rebar Caps: Also known as “mushroom” caps or “scratch” caps as they provide scratch protection when working.
- Wood Troughs: Lumber, or similar materials, can also be manufactured to build a continuous cap for an entire row of rebar.
Bending Rebar to Avoid Impalement
Another way to protect workers from impalement hazards on site is by bending or using pre-bent rebar. This typically means that the rebar is bent in such a way that the protruding end of the rebar is pointing toward the ground. If this is an option on your worksite, find the proper materials if available, or the tools along with someone who is qualified to bend rebar, to eliminate the hazard.
How to Avoid Rebar/Impalement Hazards
- Guard all protruding ends of steel rebar with rebar caps or wooden troughs
- Bend rebar so exposed ends are no longer upright
- Flag rebar with bright tape or spray paint it with fluorescent paint. This is for rebar that cannot be covered at the end (ex. Horizontal rebar protruding from a wall)
- Fall protection equipment should always be used when working above rebar or other sharp protrusions