Most industries have areas where workers are exposed to fall hazards. Developing and implementing effective fall protection programs in the workplace can put a stop to many injuries and fatalities. The proper set of fall protection equipment prevents injuries, saves lives and makes good business sense.

Fall protection equipment is used to protect individuals working at-height from fall injuries in the case of a fall. When fall hazards have been identified in a working environment, elimination should be taken into account. Elimination of all fall hazards from the workplace is the ideal method of fall prevention. This involves restructuring the working environment and the work procedures and processes. If this is unworkable, then fall prevention should be used.

Barriers, scaffolds (swing stages), movable platforms, and guardrails are ways fall prevention can be implemented by workers working at heights. Where these devices are unusable, personal fall protection equipment such as full body harnesses, lanyards, rope grabs, lifelines and retractable lifelines (SRD’s) can be considered. OSHA requires personal fall protection for workers at different heights depending on the job.

Anchorages, body support, and means of connection are the three major components that make up a complete fall protection system. Each one must be in place and correctly used to create maximum worker protection. While each of these components is important to worker safety, the connecting device is the decisive link in putting together a safe fall protection system since it bears the utmost force during a fall. Cautious consideration must be given to the materials, construction, selection, and maintenance/inspection of fall protection equipment before, during and after a connecting device has been chosen and inspection following a fall.

Since a lot of fall hazards cannot be eliminated, identifying potential hazards before starting a project is very important. Whenever the possibility for a fall is in view, a fall protection system must be used to make sure workers are safe. To save lives and lessen injuries, workers must be prepared with both the suitable equipment and adequate training.

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