Fall prevention is a critical component of any company’s safety management program; explore these four proven methods to protect against falls.
Fall protection comes in four forms: Fall elimination, fall prevention, fall arrest, and administrative controls. They form an order of operation with fall elimination listed at the top. Essentially, companies should first strive to eliminate fall hazards and then move to fall prevention measures if eliminating all fall hazards isn’t feasible.
The four methods of fall protection include:
- Fall Elimination. Fall elimination involves eliminating all fall risks, such as closing unprotected skylights on a roof or finding a way to bring the work to the ground. While eliminating risks is the safest option, it’s not always feasible. Employers should then incorporate other fall protection methods.
- Fall Prevention. Options that fall under fall protection include fall guarding and fall restraint. Fall guarding is the practice of using barricades like guard rails to prevent workers from falling off edges, into holes, etc. Fall restraints are a form of personal protective equipment that keeps individuals from falling like a fall restraint lanyard. For instance, the restraint may keep the worker from approaching an edge.
- Fall Arrest. Fall arrest includes anything that catches a worker that has already fallen, such as a net or a personal fall arrest system. Personal fall arrest systems stop a worker who has fallen from making contact with another level or the ground. Such a system includes anchorage, a body harness, connectors, a deceleration device, and an emergency plan to rescue a suspended worker.
- Administrative Controls. Administrative controls involve establishing safety measures to reduce falls. Such guidelines may include utilizing safety observers, training employees in fall prevention, and creating and enforcing policies concerning fall safety, such as no employee may be on a roof without wearing a personal fall arrest system.
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