14 Jan Alabaster Learns about Passive Fall Protection
Although he was still terrified of heights, Alabaster was really getting his feet wet at his new job. So far he had some much needed fall protection training, but today it was time to get to work. It was a chilly day in South Carolina with a cold snap keeping everyone with any sense inside. Unfortunately, the crew at Atlantic Fall Protection was on a deadline. Before the sun was up, Alabaster kissed his wife Alabama and their 16 gator kids goodbye and headed out to the jobsite. It was tough leaving the comfort of the wet, slimy swamp bed, but a gator man has to do what a gator man has to do. Once on the job he got the 411. The AFP crew would be installing some modular guardrails and skylight screens on the roof. After he shook off the terror of having to climb up on the roof, Alabaster asked a good question, “Why are we installing guardrails and not a fall protection system?”
His human Foreman, Bart, did the best he could to explain. “There is a hierarchy of fall protection. Always try to eliminate the fall hazard first. Sometimes this can be accomplished by building a solid barrier or raising the height of the lower level. If that’s not possible, then it’s time to try a passive solution such as guardrails, skylight screens or ladder cages. You don’t want to use anchor points or lifelines unless passive solutions are not an option.”
This made perfect sense to Alabaster. Using a passive solution meant that anyone could go on the roof without the worry of falling and it would eliminate the need for anyone to wear a harness or receive special training. This set Alabaster’s mind at ease. Being on this roof suddenly wasn’t so scary.
Check back next time for more helpful tips on the Adventures of Alabaster!