What is fall protection? Is fall protection necessary? What does OSHA’s regulation say about fall protection? These are all important questions you’ll most likely ask yourself when assessing your work site for hazards, OSHA-compliance, and worker safety. At HySafe, we understand how overwhelming this topic can be at times. This is why we’ve come up with a simple guide to fall protection to help you navigate through this complicated subject with ease and confidence. Be sure to bookmark this page to reference in the future!
What is Fall Protection?
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, sets and enforces health and safety standards for workers across the United States. According to OSHA’s 1910.21 Standard, “Fall protection means any equipment, device, or system that prevents an employee from falling from an elevation or mitigates the effect of such a fall”. Easy enough, right? At this point, you’re probably asking yourself “Okay, now what?” and that’s completely okay. This simple guide will help answer all of your questions about getting started with fall protection.
Why Is Fall Protection Necessary?
By now, you’ve probably done your research and have realized that in some way, shape, or form you need fall protection. But how necessary is fall protection? The short answer is “very”. The long answer is best described by OSHA’s 1910.28 standard. It states that it… “requires employers to provide protection for each employee exposed to fall and falling object hazards.” In addition to being required, fall protection also prevents deadly falls and keeps your workers safe. According to OSHA, “Falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths”. If a worker is injured or killed on the job due to a fall, an employer can be faced with OSHA fines, medical costs, and lawsuits. Now that you know why fall protection is necessary, let’s dig a little deeper into who needs fall protection.
Who Needs Fall Protection?
When purchasing fall protection, OSHA requires these various height standards for the following industries:
- General Industry: four feet elevation.
- Shipyards: five feet elevation.
- Construction: six feet elevation.
- Longshoring Operations: eight feet elevation.
- All Industries: Regardless of elevation, fall protection must be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery.
Once you’ve identified the fall protection requirement for your specific industry, you can decide where you will need to install fall protection.
Where Do You Need Fall Protection?
Ask yourself, “What fall protection do I currently have in place?”, “Where are workers exposed to fall hazards?”, and “Am I compliant with OSHA’s standards?” According to OSHA, it is it the employer’s responsibility to…
- “Provide working conditions that are free of known dangers.”
- “Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition.”
- “Select and provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.”
- “Train workers about job hazards in a language that they can understand.”
With all of this in mind, you’ll need to take immediate action to prevent injuries and deadly falls at your work site. When purchasing fall protection for your work site, it may be a good idea to take a look at the various fall protection systems available to you.
What Type Of Fall Protection System Do You Need?
Before we dive into the various HySafe products, it’s important to understand the types of fall protection solutions:
- Fall Restraint: Keeps the user from being able to reach a hazard where they could fall.
- Fall Arrest: The user can fall but the fall protection would catch them from hitting the ground of object below.
- Positioning: This system holds the worker in place while keeping his/her hands free to work. Whenever the worker leans back, the system is activated. However, it is not specifically designed for fall arrest purposes and a backup fall arrest system should be used in conjunction with the suspension system.
- Suspension: This equipment lowers and supports the worker while allowing a hands-free work environment and is widely used in window washing and painting industries. The suspension components are not designed to arrest a free fall, a backup fall arrest system should be used in conjunction with the suspension system.
- Retrieval: Preplanning in the event of a fall should be taken into consideration when developing a proactive fall management program.
HySafe offers an extensive list of fall protection solutions such as harnesses, lanyards, guardrail, self-retracting lifelines, etc. Check out our line of fall protection solutions here:
Not ready to shop just yet? We completely understand, which is why we offer a full OSHA-compliant work site assessment conducted by one of our very own fall protection specialists. The report will highlight each area of concern including the specific fall hazard and the appropriate solution.
Do You Need a Custom Engineered Solution?
Sometimes, a cookie-cutter solution is just not going to work for your work site needs. HySafe can design, engineer, and install custom fall protection solutions specific to your work site needs. Interested in a free quote? Send us some more information about your work site and we’ll get back to you shortly!