A Short Guide to Understanding Fall Prevention and Protection on Construction Sites

Sep 12, 2016Safety Training0 comments

OSHA uses a three step method to prevent falls and save lives on construction sites: plan, provide, and train. These three steps are essential for any professional in construction to keep in mind, especially wherever there are opportunities for falls to occur. 

OSHA fall protection training is an important step in the process of learning how to prevent falls, but there are simple things you can do to enhance the safety of any site. Here’s a short guide to understanding simple fall protection tactics and putting them to use on a construction site. 

For Management
For any fall protection system to be put in place and work, certain requirements must be met by management. After all, management is the department responsible for actually creating and implementing fall protection systems. Providing training for all employees is another requirement that must be met. If a system is put in place but nobody understands it, then it might not work very well in the long run. Once a protection program has been put in place, it’s also up to management to review and update it as needed. If one part of the plan becomes outdated or obsolete, then changes need to be made. 

Specifically, some managers and supervisors may need to complete specialized fall protection competent person certification. This ensures they are capable of not just protecting themselves, but identifying and eliminating risks to others
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For Employees
Above all else, training is the most important thing to do for an employee. Almost all construction sites have unprotected sides and raised work areas, so knowledge is essential in making a fall protection plan work. If an employee doesn’t know how to use the rigging equipment necessary for fall prevention, then the equipment won’t be as effective. Without fall arrest equipment, a person can fall seven feet in two-thirds of a second. 

In General 

Wherever there’s an unprotected edge or a floor hole, some form of safety equipment should be employed to protect workers. Whenever employees are exposed to a fall of over six feet, either a guardrail, safety net, or fall arrest system should be used. Unfortunately, too many workers think that only 
extreme heights require protection, when even very short drops can be deadly.

No matter the distance to the ground, taking fall protection for granted is a big mistake. These systems save lives and improve conditions for everyone, so it’s important to understand their role in construction.


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