A “Worker First” Mentality Should Precede A Fall Protection Plan

When providing fall protection consulting services, a question we are frequently asked is, “How do I develop a Fall Protection Plan?” The need is obvious: each year approximately 100,000 injuries and deaths are attributable to work-related falls, and OSHA puts the burden on every employer who has workers working at height to have a written plan that is available to all workers. FallProof has provided services to some of the biggest names in business that do put employee safety first, above all else.

FallProof has experience in a broad range of industries and on a wide variety of projects:

  • Aviation & Aircraft Hangars: Business and commercial;
  • Bridges: Renovation, restoration and rehabilitation;
  • Construction: Commercial and industrial high-rise office buildings, hotels and resorts;
  • Energy: Oil and gas drilling rigs, chemical refinery manufacturing and production, silos, nuclear power plants, and wind turbines;
  • Historical Buildings: Renovation, restoration and rehabilitation;
  • Infrastructure: Roads and highways operated and maintained by federal, state, city and county agencies;
  • Manufacturing & Distribution: Loading docks, truck bays and conveyor belts they depend on;
  • Sports and Entertainment: Rooftop sports venues, catwalks, arenas, stadiums, and orchestra pits employees frequent and maintain;
  • Steel Mills: Elevated work platforms, rooftops and loading docks;
  • Transportation and Trucking: Loading docks, gangways and railcars needed to keep things moving; and
  • Water & Utilities: Water towers, elevated tanks, maintenance stations, utility towers and poles, catwalks and ladders, and wastewater treatment plants.

Whatever your industry, we have you covered.

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The primary focus in developing a fall protection plan should be to save lives and reduce injuries. We believe the most effective plans are those developed with a team approach, where workers actively participate with management to both identify fall hazards and to jointly work toward solutions that can either eliminate the hazards or provide protection against them. The workers know better than anyone how they do their jobs and the risks to which they are exposed.

Identifying Workplace Hazards Is The First Step In Providing Solutions

The first step in developing a plan is to identify every potential fall hazard in the workplace. In general industry, OSHA requires protection any time a worker is at a height greater than 4 feet, or at any height if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment. These locations include rooftops, loading docks, equipment maintenance, warehouse racking, and many others.

Once they have been identified, a written program should be developed to specify how each hazard will be handled. Whenever possible, the hazard should be eliminated or engineered out. When that is not possible, other measures, including the use of restraint systems and personal fall arrest systems must be specified. The specification should include the types of measures to be used, how they are to be used, and should identify the Competent Person who will train and supervise employees in a language they understand. All employees who might be exposed to a fall hazard require training.

Any time fall arrest systems are a component of the plan, it should address rescue situations, including what equipment will be used in a rescue, who will perform the rescue, how and when workers will be trained and other matters. Because injuries resulting from a fall and the trauma of being suspended for a length of time are serious, OSHA requires that any rescue be prompt. Any time there has been a fall or near miss, an incident investigation should be conducted to determine what went right and what went wrong so corrective changes can be adopted.

Lastly, inspection and recertification of all systems and personal protective equipment (PPE) that will be used should be addressed, and also should include a periodic review of the program itself to evaluate effectiveness and ensure that no new hazards have arisen. FallProof has participated in the development and implementation of many such plans. Call us today for help with yours.