What Is Fall Protection?

Fall Protection is a term that describes a wide variety of equipment and systems used to keep employees that work at heights safe. There are many solutions and safety systems designed specifically for this purpose. These solutions include, but are not limited to, guardrails, horizontal lifelines, anchor points, and netting.  Fall Protection requires detailed planning, training for users and supervisors, and documented inspections.

Who Needs Fall Protection?

Employees who must work at or above the designated OSHA trigger heights are required by law to have fall protection. Employers have the burden of supplying a safe work environment and the training and equipment needed for employees to perform tasks safely. Building owners must also be aware of potential fall hazards and take steps to protect employees and contract workers. The need for fall protection stretches across many industries, including construction, energy, manufacturing, distribution and maintenance.

When is Fall Protection Required?

OSHA requires that fall protection be provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in long shoring operations. In addition, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery, regardless of the fall distance.

Who can design and install permanent Fall Protection systems?

Permanent fall protection systems are designed by a Qualified Person. A Qualified Person is normally someone with an engineering degree that has extensive experience in the fall protection field. Installations are performed by manufacturer certified installers. Depending on the engineered system and manufacturer, additional certifications may be required.

Do all Fall Protection anchors have to support 5000 lbs. per person attached?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that OSHA requires non-certified anchors to support 5000 lbs. per person attached. Non-certified anchors are improvised in the field, and the 5000 lb. capacity is an educated guess. Certified anchors are designed by a Qualified Person using a safety factor of two. A Qualified Person (engineer) calculates the maximum loads that may be applied to the structure and multiplies by two. These loads are typically less than the OSHA 5000 lb. rule.

What is the maximum weight that fall protection systems and equipment can support?

Most fall protection equipment and systems are designed for a worker that weighs no more than 310 pounds including tools and equipment. Some equipment is designed for a higher weight capacity but you must ensure that everything used in the personal fall arrest system is able to support the same increased capacity.

How often do Fall Protection systems and equipment need to be inspected?

OSHA requires that all fall protection equipment is inspected by the user prior to each use. In addition, the ANSI consensus standard requires that all fall protection equipment must be inspected by a Competent Person annually. The ANSI standard also requires that all engineered fall protection systems are subjected to a five year engineering review.

How do I choose the right fall protection system?

Many things must be considered before choosing the correct fall protection system for your specific application. You must first consider the work task and whether the fall hazard can be eliminated or guarded. Once it is established that you require a fall protection system you will need to determine an anchorage. This can be clearly defined or can be very difficult to establish. Once you have an anchorage you must determine the correct connection device. When considering connection devices always take into account the potential for swing falls, worker free fall distance and over all fall distance. Lastly, establish what measures must be taken and equipment may be required to safely assist or rescue someone who has been subjected to a fall.

What type of Fall Protection training are we required to have?

All workers who use fall protection equipment must have a minimum of Authorized Person training. This training covers the basic aspects of fall protection, including proper donning of the harness and site specific user procedures. Authorized Persons should be overseen by a supervisor that has completed Competent Person training. Competent Person training is for individuals who oversee the use of fall protection equipment devices and systems by Authorized Persons.

Can someone at Atlantic Fall Protection take a look at our problem area and provide some ideas?

Yes, just reach out through email or by phone and we will schedule a site visit. Once that is finished we can provide a quote with a clear scope of work.

Does Atlantic Fall Protection provide a turn-key solution?

Yes. Our services take your project from start to finish with no need for you to source materials or labor from other vendors or contractors.

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