Fall Protection Systems - Simplified SafetyFall Protection Systems - Simplified Safety

Fall Protection
Safety Equipment
and Solutions

Home Blog Selecting the Right Anchor Point

Fall Protection Blog

Pictorial Safety Imagery Available for Free from AEM


@lbuzecky, Director of Safety Materials at Assoc. of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) twittered about their free library of pictorial safety images.  The library has about 130 different images and is sortable by body area, hazard type, action and date.  Looks to be a great free resource for safety professionals.

OSHA Offers FREE On Site Consultations (really?)


In an effort to promote work site safety, OHSA is now offering a FREE consultation program.  The program is reported to be totally separate from the enforcement side of OSHA.  The reports issued are confidential and aimed at helping employers to meet compliance and keep their workers safe.  The program appears to be available in every state. Find out more about the program here.

Heres some information about the program from OSHAs web site:

Using a free consultation service largely funded by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers can find out about potential hazards at their worksites, improve their occupational safety and health management systems, and even qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections.

The service is delivered by state governments using well-trained professional staff. Most consultations take place on-site, though limited services away from the worksite are available.

Primarily targeted for smaller businesses, this safety and health consultation program is completely separate from the OSHA inspection effort. In addition, no citations are issued or penalties proposed.

It's confidential, too. Your name, your firm's name, and any information you provide about your workplace, plus any unsafe or unhealthful working conditions that the consultant uncovers, will not be reported routinely to the OSHA inspection staff.

Your only obligation will be to commit yourself to correcting serious job safety and health hazards -- a commitment which you are expected to make prior to the actual visit and carry out in a timely manner.

Learn more about this program on OSHAs web site.

A couple of questions are created by this paragraph.

1. What does OSHA mean by routinely in the second to last paragraph.  Does that mean that their consultation will actually report information about your job site?  And if so, how is it confidential?

2. In the last paragraph OSHA says you are expected to make prior to the actual visit .  So OSHA wants you to make corrections before they visit?  If so, then how does this consultation occur and what is its purpose.  Additionally, it says that correction must be carried out in a timely manner.  That kind of sounds like a threat, like if you dont then OSHA will cite you.  If that is the case, then how are these visits confidential. 

Has anyone out there participated in this program?  And if so, what was the result, and how are these questions reconciled?  Your comments are welcome.

‘Stand Down’ teaches 19k workers about fall protection


A couple of days ago we reported that the State of Tennessee was promoting a safety stand down to teach workers across the state about the importance of fall protection.  The event appears too have been very successful.  900 different job sites, representing 120 different companies and 19,000 workers participated in the safety event.

Heres a sample of the article:

Officials say the event was held this week because construction accidents typically rise in the months of June, July and August as the number of construction jobs peak in the summer.

"It's not only a state issue, it's a national problem," Kim Enoch, director of safety and loss control for Associated General Contractors said. "Almost every craft in construction is subject to fall hazards."

According to the state, in 2007 there were 447 fall-related fatalities investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the United States. Tennessee had 15 fall-related fatalities in 2008 and TOSHA issued citations for more than 300 fall safety violations.

The most common causes of fall-related injuries are unprotected sides, wall openings and holes; improper scaffold construction; and misuse of portable ladders.

Read the rest of the article here.  Kudos to Tennessee in leading the way in raising awareness about about third leading cause of death in the workplace.

Overview of Fall Protection Options

When employees are exposed to heights over 6 feet above lower levels, they shall be protected from falling by guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. The following Heroic Safety Huddle defines the details and specific regulations pertaining to these protection systems as set forth by OSHA CFR Part 1926.502.

Guardrail Systems shall comply with the following provisions:

  • Top edge height of top rails shall be 42 inches plus or minus 3 inches above walking/working level
  • Midrails shall be installed between top rail and working surface where there is no wall or parapet at least 21 inches high
  • Screens and mesh used shall extend the entire opening from top rail to working surface
  • Intermediate members (balusters) shall be no more than 19 inches apart
  • Guardrails must be capable of withstanding 200 lbs. applied within 2 inches of the top edge in any outward or downward direction
  • When 200 lbs. is applied in downward direction, the top edge of guardrail shall not deflect below 39 inches from working surface
  • Midrails, screens, and mesh shall be capable of withstanding 150 lbs. in outward or downward direction
  • Guardrails to be surfaced to prevent injury to employees from punctures and lacerations
  • The ends of all top rails and midrails shall not extend past terminal posts
  • Steel banding or plastic banding shall not be used as top rails or midrails
  • Top rails and midrails shall be at least 1/4 inch nominal diameter or thickness
  • Wire rope top rails shall be flagged at no more than 6 ft. intervals by highly visible material
  • Guardrail systems used around holes that are used for access points shall have a gate
  • Guardrail systems used on ramps and runways shall be erected on all unprotected sides

Safety Net Systems shall comply with the following provisions:

  • Shall be installed as close as practicable under the walking/working surface on which employees are working
  • Shall extend outward from the outermost projection of the work surface as follows:
    • 5 ft. to net (vert.) = 8 ft. from net edge to working edge (horz.)
    • 5 to 10 ft. = 10ft.
    • more than 10 ft. = 13 ft.
  • Shall be installed with sufficient clearance under net to prevent contact with surface or objects below
  • Drop test to be performed at installation, before being used as fall protection, after relocation, after major repairs, and at 6 month intervals
    • Drop test consists of dropping 400 lb. bag of sand 30 inches in diameter into net from highest working surface
  • Inspected at least once per week
    • Defective nets not to be used

Personal Fall Arrest Systems shall comply with the following:

  • As of January 1, 1998, body belts are not acceptable as part of a personal fall arrest system
    • Only positioning systems
  • Connectors shall be drop forged, pressed, or formed steel
  • Surfaces and edges shall be smooth
  • Dee-rings and snaphooks shall have minimum tensile strength of 5,000 lbs.
  • Unless a locking-type snaphook, they shall not be engaged:
    • directly to webbing, rope or wire rope
    • to each other
    • to a Dee-ring to which another snaphook or other connector is attached
    • to a horizontal lifeline
  • Horizontal lifelines shall be designed, installed, and used in a manner which maintains a safety factor of at least two
  • Lanyards and vertical lifelines shall have a minimum breaking strength of at least 5,000 lbs.
  • Except during the construction of elevator shafts, each employee shall be attached to a separate lifeline
  • Lifelines to be protected from cuts and abrasions
  • Ropes and webbing straps used in lanyards, lifelines, body belts and harnesses shall be composed of synthetic fibers
  • Anchorages used for attachment shall be capable of supporting at least 5,000 lbs. per employee attached
  • Personal fall arrest systems, when stopping a fall, shall:
    • Limit maximum arresting force to 1800 lbs when used with a body harness
    • Be rigged such that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 ft. nor contact any lower level
    • Bring an employee to a complete stop and limit max deceleration distance an employee travels to 3.5 ft.
    • Have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of an employee free falling a distance of 6 ft.
    • Employee shall provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or shall assure that employees are able to rescue themselves
    • Personal fall arrest systems shall be inspected prior to use, post damage or other deterioration, and defective components shall be removed from service
    • Shall not be attached to guardrail systems

Editorial Note: links were added to Dan's post to provide a connection to the products that represent the topics he was referring to.

Fall Protection in the Solar Industry

Safety Director at Harmon Electric sheds a little light on the use of fall protection equipment in the solar industry:

Most Solar panel systems are normally installed on the roof of either residential or commercial properties. This is not to say you cannot have a Solar System on the ground, it is just typical to have them on the roof. With this being said, when working on a roof there is potential exposure to fall hazards, and to avoid these hazards there must be Fall Protection Equipment and Systems that are to be used and followed according to OSHAs standard 1926.502. The three most common (primary) methods of Fall Protection are guardrails, safety netting, and personal fall arrest systems. ...

Read the rest of the article here

PPE Checklist for Industrial Safety

Starting a Personal Protective Equipment program for general industry? Follow the following checklist to ensure your program is OSHA compliant and your related trainings are efficient.

PPE Program and Training Checklist:

  1. Identify (in writing) steps taken to assess potential hazards in workplace.
  2. Identify appropriate PPE selection criteria.
  3. Identify how to train employees on use of PPE:
    1. What PPE is necessary.
    2. When PPE is necessary.
    3. How to Properly inspect PPE.
    4. Donning and adjusting PPE.
    5. Doffing PPE.
    6. Limitations of PPE.
    7. How to care for and store PPE.
  4. Identify how to assess employee understanding.
  5. Identify how to enforce use of PPE.
  6. Identify how to provide medical exams.
  7. Identify how and when to evaluate PPE program.

Tennesse leads in emphasizing fall protection

TOSHA Fall Protection

Tennesse is leading the way in emphasizing the importance of fall protection in the work place. TOSHA has planned a special "shut down" event that will focus on training employees in fall protection measures.

Here what their web site says:

TOSHA has agreed to participate in an exciting safety event planned for the construction industry across the state of Tennessee for June 1, 2009 at 7:00 a.m.

Participating employers will shut down their jobs on Monday morning, June 1, and train their employees on fall protection for approximately 45-60 minutes. The goal of the program is to raise awareness of the hazard of falling from elevations and to review the fall protection requirements.

TOSHA feels this will be an event that will truly impact the safety and health of the many hard working construction workers across this state.

To implement the program employers will fill out a registration form and send it in and in return they will receive a training program, promotion flyers, and hard hat stickers. TOSHA has agreed to provide trainers to large sites where multiple contractors are present.

Learn more on their web site

Basic Overview of Walking and Working Surfaces

The following information is a general overview of major points and standards developed from OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart D. Walking and Working Surfaces for General Industry.

Key Terms:

  • Floor Hole: opening less than 12 inches but more than 1 inch
  • Floor Opening: an opening greater than 12 inches where a person may fall
  • Toeboard: barrier to prevent the falling of materials
  • Standard Railing: barrier to prevent persons from falling
  • Wall Hole: an opening less than 30 inches but more than 1 inch high of unrestricted width, in any wall or partition
  • Wall Opening: an opening greater than 30 inches high and 18 inches wide

General Requirements:

  • All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms shall be kept clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition
  • Aisles and passageways shall be kept clear and in good repairs, with no obstruction across or in aisles that could create a hazard
  • Covers and/or guardrails provided to protect personnel from the hazards of open pits, tanks, vats, ditches, etc.
  • Load rating limits shall be posted on all cover plates

Floor Openings, Wall Openings, and Holes:

  • Railingsto be provided on all exposed sides of a stairway except entrance
  • Guardrails to be in place or attendant posted at all temporary floor openings
  • Floor holes to have standard railing with toeboard or hole cover of standard strength and construction
  • Every hatchway or chute opening to be guarded
  • Platforms 4 feet or more above ground shall be guarded by standard railing on all open sidesexcept entrance to ramp, stairway, or fixed ladder

Railing, Toeboard, and Cover Specifications:

  • Top rails shall have a vertical height of 42 inches nominal from upper surface of top rail to floor
  • Protection between top rail and floor, platform, runway, ramp, or stair treads, equivalent at least to that afforded by a standard intermediate rail
  • Height of handrails shall be not more than 34 inches nor less than 30 inches from upper surface of handrail to surface of tread
  • Toeboard should be nominal 4 inches in vertical height and have no more than 1/4 inch clearance above floor level
  • Roadway manhole covers to handle at least 20,000 pounds
  • Skylight screens must be able to carry at least 200 pounds
  • 200 pounds for wall opening covers


  • Every flight of stairs with 4 or more risers shall have standard railings or hand rails
  • Stairways less than 44 inches wide having both sides enclosed, must have at least one handrail that is affixed, preferably of right side descending
  • Less than 44 inches wide with open side, one affixed handrail on open side
  • Less than 44 inches wide with two open sides, two handrails to be provided on each side
  • Fixed industrial stairs are to carry 5 times anticipated load
    • Minimum moving concentrated load of 1000 pounds
    • Minimum width of 22 inches
    • Angle to horizontal between 30 and 50 degrees
    • Vertical clearance from tread to overhead a minimum of 7 feet


  • Must extend at least 3 feet above point of support
  • Never to be placed near electrical hazards
  • Foot of ladder placed 1/4 height on lateral
  • Never splice ladders to elongate
  • Never use as platforms
  • Secure footing, or lashed or held in position

WorkSafe BC Video on Scaffolding Fall Protection

Every year workers die because they fall from unprotected scaffolds. This WorkSafe BC video covers the basics of fall protection on scaffolding.

Basic Overview of PPE

The following safety huddle topic is an overview of OSHA personal protective equipment for the construction industry. All information has been extracted from OSHA 29 CFR Part 1926, Subpart E. This information is for informational purposes only. Employers should always create a written policy that supports a comprehensive PPE program and conduct regular trainings specific to the safety equipment used in their workplaces.

The key to selecting the appropriate PPE is the proper identification of all hazards in a workplace that may cause harm or injury to an employee. All PPE is listed to protect employees from very specific hazards. Research the differences between classes of PPE and make a selection based on their rated capacities. As an example; an employee works near a furnace operation. You would not want to just buy shaded safety glasses. By consulting Table E-1, you will find that the employee needs safety glasses with class 7, 8, or 9 protectors. Always research all forms of PPE before purchasing and employing for service.

Criteria for personal protective equipment:

  • Application- protective equipment including eyes, face, head, extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reasons of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation, or physical contact.
  • Employee-owned equipment- where employees provide their own equipment, the employer shall be responsible to assure its adequacy, including maintenance, and sanitation.
  • Payment for PPE- PPE shall be provided by the employer at no cost to the employee, except:
    • non-specialty safety-toe equipment and non-specialty prescription safety eyewear
    • when an employee provides their own adequate equipment that the employer permits the employee to use
    • when an employee loses or intentionally damages the equipment

Occupational Foot Protection:

  • Safety-toe footwear for employees shall meet the requirements and specifications in ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Z41.1-1967.

Head Protection:

  • Protective helmets shall be required in areas where employees are in danger of head injury from impacts, falling or flying objects, or from electrical shock or burns.
  • Helmets shall meet requirements set forth in ANSI Z89.1-1969.
  • Helmets for employees exposed to high voltage electrical shock and shock shall meet ANSI Z89.2-1971.

Hearing Protection:

  • Use table D-2 in OSHA 29 CFR 1926, Subpart D for defining permissible occupational noise levels.
  • Always eliminate or mitigate noise hazards and limit duration of exposure to noise hazards when possible.
  • Wherever it is not feasible to reduce the noise levels or duration of exposures to those specified in Table D-2, ear protective devices shall be provided and used.
  • Ear protective devices inserted in the ear shall be fitted or determined individually by competent persons.
  • Plain cotton is not an acceptable protective device.

Eye and Face Protections:

  • Employees shall be provided with eye and face protection equipment when machines or operations present potential eye or face injury from physical, chemical, or radiation agents.
  • Eye and face protection shall meet ANSI Z87.1-1968.
  • Employees whose vision requires the use of corrective lenses in spectacles shall be protected by goggles or spectacles of the following types:
    • Spectacles whose protective lenses provide optical correction
    • Goggles that can be worn over spectacles
    • Goggles that incorporate corrective lenses mounted behind the protective lenses
  • Face and eye protection shall be kept clean and in good repair.
  • Use Table E-1 in Subpart E as a guide in the selection of face and eye protection for the hazards and operations noted.
  • Protectors shall be comfortable, fit snugly, be durable, be capable of being disinfected, and easily cleanable.

Protection Against Radiant Energy:

  • Use Table E-2 for selection of shade numbers for welding operations.
  • Use Table E-3 for selecting safety glass for laser operations.

Working Over or Near Water:

  • Employees working over or near water, where the danger of drowning exists, shall be provided with U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets or buoyant work vests.
  • Prior to and after each use these protective devices will be inspected for defects.
  • Ring buoys with at least 90 feet of line shall be provided and readily available for emergency rescue operations.
  • Distance between ring bouys shall not exceed 200 feet.
  • At least one lifesaving skiff shall be available for employees working near or over water.

Refer to Subpart M for all standards pertaining to fall protection equipment.

Respirators is an extensive subject that will be addressed in a future Safety Huddle article.

All Tables and standards can be accessed at:

Page 34 of 35 pages « First  <  32 33 34 35 >