Fall Protection & Training

Falls and falling objects can result from unstable working surfaces, ladders that are not safely positioned, and misuse of fall protection. Workers are also subject to falls or to the dangers of falling objects if sides and edges, floor holes, and wall openings are not protected. Any time a worker is at a height of six feet or more (construction industry) or four feet or more (general industry), the worker must be protected.

Fall Protection

Fall protection must be provided for each employee
on a walking/working surface with an unprotected side or edge at the height required by the OSHA standard applicable to their work environment.

Management is required to:

• Develop, implement and commit to a fall protection
• Provide training on the fall protection program

• Evaluate the program on a regular basis to
insure the program’s effectiveness and determine whether it needs to be changed or updated

Employers are required to assess the workplace
to determine if the walking/working surfaces on which employees are to work have the strength and structural integrity to safely support workers. Once employers have determined that the surface is safe for employees to work on, the employer must select one of the options listed for the work operation if a fall hazard is present.
• Where protection is required, select fall protection
systems appropriate for given situations.
• Use proper construction and installation of safety
• Supervise employees properly.

• Train workers in the proper selection, use, and
maintenance of fall protection systems.

Unprotected Sides, Wall Openings,
and Floor Holes
Almost all sites have unprotected sides and
edges, wall openings, or floor holes at some point during construction. If these sides and openings are not protected at your site, injuries from falls or falling objects may result, ranging from sprains and concussions to death.
• Use at least one of the following whenever
employees are exposed to a fall of 6 feet or more [see comment above] above a lower level:
• Guardrail Systems

• Safety Net Systems

• Fall Arrest Systems

• Cover or guard floor holes as soon as they are
• Guard or cover any openings or holes immediately.

• Construct all floor hole covers so they will effectively
support two times the weight of employees, equipment, and materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one time.
• In general, it is better to use fall prevention systems,
such as guardrails, than fall protection systems, such as safety nets or fall arrest devices.


You risk falling if portable ladders are not safely
positioned each time they are used. While you are on a ladder, it may move and slip from its supports. You can also lose your balance while getting on or off an unsteady ladder. Falls from ladders can cause injuries ranging from sprains to death.
• Position portable ladders so the side rails extend
at least 3 feet above the landing
• Secure side rails at the top to a rigid support
and use a grab device when 3 foot extension is not possible.
• Make sure that the weight on the ladder will not
cause it to slip off its support.
• Before each use, inspect ladders for cracked,
broken, or defective parts.
• Do not apply more weight on the ladder than it
is designed to support.
• Use only ladders that comply with OSHA standards.

1 comment:

  1. After participating in the aerial lift webinar, there are two circumstances from my personal experience that I’d like to share. Unfortunately, each case ended with a fatality, so this reinforces the need for formal training. In the first situation, a city electrical utility boom truck had tied-off to a metal pole that was damaged. The plan was to attach a rope to it, remove the bolts that attached it to its base, and then lower it to the ground. When the last bolt was removed, the pole sprung from its base due to the excessive tension on the rope. The occupant was catapulted out of the basket. I’ll never forget being told that the victim was one of those workers who always told others to always wear their harness and lanyard….
    The other situation happened when a maintenance man was steering a fully extended scissors lift outdoors on an asphalt pathway. His intent was to change a bulb in a light fixture. In his case, he was wearing a harness and lanyard per company policy. However, he failed to notice that one of the wheels was rolling off the edge of the pathway. This resulted in the equipment toppling to the frozen ground. His impact with the ground caused multiple internal injuries. When the incident was reported to a room full of supervisors, the safety coordinator was asked if the scissors lift operator had been trained to safely operate the lift. The maintenance manager spoke up and said, “No, but he had operated it safely for the last 9 years.” That was the wrong answer then and was also the wrong answer as far as the OSHA compliance officer was concerned.
    health and safety training