Fall prevention is an important component of any company’s safety management program; explore the four different methods of fall protection.

Fall protection comes in four different forms: Fall elimination, fall prevention, fall arrest, and administrative controls. They form an order-of-operation triangle of action, with fall elimination at the top. Essentially, companies should strive to first eliminate fall hazards, at the top of the triangle, but move on down to fall prevention measures if eliminating all fall hazards isn’t feasible.

The Four Methods of Fall Protection

  1. Fall Elimination. The first fall protection method, fall elimination, involves eliminating fall risks altogether, such as closing unprotected skylights on a roof or finding a way to bring the work to the ground. While eliminating risk altogether is the safest option, it’s not always feasible. Then, employers should move on to the next fall protection methods.
  2. Fall Prevention. Options that fall under fall protection include fall guarding and fall restraint. Fall guarding is the use of barricades like guard rails to prevent workers from falling off edges, into holes, etc. Fall restraints are a form of personal protective equipment that keep individuals from falling, like a fall restraint lanyard. For instance, the restraint may keep the worker from approaching an edge.
  3. 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.
  4. Administrative Controls. Administrative controls include measures that are meant to reduce falls, such as 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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