Fall Protection: How Your Company Fall Safety Program Can Improve

November 30, 2022
By N. Nicholas, ASP
Battling Complacency Safety toolbox Talk

When it comes to safety in the workplace, there are a lot of things to consider. One of the most important things to have in place is a fall protection plan.

A fall protection plan is a set of procedures and protocols put in place to prevent falls from happening, and to protect workers if a fall does occur.

There are a number of reasons why fall protection plans are so important. First, falls are one of the most common causes of injuries and fatalities in the workplace.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.

Second, falls can be extremely serious, and even fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Third, falls can be prevented.

There are a number of measures that can be taken to prevent falls from happening, and a fall protection plan outlines those measures. Fourth, a fall protection plan shows that you are committed to safety.

Having a fall protection plan in place demonstrates to your employees, customers, and other stakeholders that you take safety seriously and are committed to protecting your workers.

How Can Employers Improve their Fall Protection Program?

An employer can easily protect employees from fall hazards by taking a methodical approach to the problem. First, conduct an assessment to determine the type of fall hazards present to their workforce. This process can be completed by using a Risk Analysis.

The second step is to become familiar with the OSHA Standards that apply to your operations. In General Industry 29 CFR 1910 Subparts and the Construction Industry CFR 1926.501.

Third, create a comprehensive fall protection plan following the safety standards. If you are unable to, a board-certified safety professional can be commissioned to assist with the creation of the program.

Fourth, based on the hazard assessment and the drafted fall protection plan, obtain the proper safety equipment, including harnesses – personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), lifelines, anchors, safety guard rails, safety nets, or other fall protection devices.

The next and most critical step is Training and Development. This is an essential component of an effective fall protection program. You could have the best program in the world, but it will do no good if employees do not know about it or adhere to the plan components.

Training for fall protection should be provided to workers before they are placed in areas where they are or can be exposed to fall hazards.

Training must cover the areas outlined in the OSHA standard. At a minimum, employers shall train employees on hazard recognition, inspecting and installing fall protection systems, the proper way to don personal fall arrest systems, and emergency procedures should a fall occur.

Another critical aspect of an effective fall protection program is a process of continuous improvement. Continuous improvement can encompass ongoing inspection and audits by a competent individual of the company’s fall protection program.

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