It may seem that a job can be performed more efficiently without spending the time to protect against falls. However, cutting corners can have devasting effects. Falls remain one of the top causes of fatalities in construction. Workers have fallen off edges of every description, especially floors and roofs, and through openings in floors, roofs, and walls. Fall protection is something to take seriously and it's required whenever a worker faces serious risk of injury, including:
- On structures where a worker could fall more than 7 feet
- On thrustouts, trusses, beams, purlins, and plates at heights over 15 feet
- On a sloped roof
To prevent accidental falls at worksites, guardrails and toeboards or other effective barriers to falls should be used. However, there will be areas where guardrails or other barriers are not feasible. In these cases, workers must use approved personal fall protection systems or positioning devices.
Fall Protection Systems
Two basic types of personal fall protection systems that require tie off are fall arrest and travel restraint. Fall arrest systems stop a fall within a few feet of the worker’s original position. A full body harness is required with a fall arrest system. The system typically consists of a full body harness, a lanyard, a rope grab, a lifeline, and a lifeline anchor. A fall arrest system must be worn when working on a rolling scaffold that is being moved or when a worker is getting on, working from, or getting off suspended access equipment.