The Occupational Safety & Health Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor recognizes falls as the number one cause of workplace fatalities. That is why OSHA has requirements in place for workplace training in fall protection.
These fall protection regulations mostly apply to workers in the construction industry.
OSHA regulations require employers to provide personal fall protection equipment to their workers.
Depending on their type of work or the specific job, some employees may have more fall protection requirements than others. Some workers that may have more stringent fall protection regulations than others include those:
- working on scaffolds
- working on cranes and derricks
- performing steel erection work
- erecting tanks or communication and broadcast towers
Fall protection generally can be provided through the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, positioning device systems, and warning line systems, among others.
Fall protection products fit into 1 of 4 categories:
- Fall Arrest- a full body harness with a shock-absorbing lanyard or a retractable lifeline should be used anytime a working height of six feet or more is reached.
- Positioning-hold the worker in place but is not designed specifically for fall arrest purposes.
- Suspension-lowers and supports the worker while allowing a hands-free work environment, and is widely used in window washing and painting industries and also not designed specifically for fall arrests, so a back up fall arrest system must be used.
- Retrieval- Even though you want to prevent falls, a retrieval plan should still be put into place.
For more information on Fall Protection and OSHA regulations, please visit www.OSHA.gov.