Fall Protection Training | Why It’s Important
Every day, four construction workers die on the job in America from incidents relating to fall protection, or the lack of fall protection. Falls are literally the leading cause of death in the workplace for construction workers. In fact, according to OSHA, one-third of all construction deaths stem from falls from elevated heights. To prevent incidents like these from happening, fall protection training is absolutely paramount. All workers, managers, and supervisors should be well aware of the dangers of working at elevated heights and what they can do to prevent accidents from happening. Not only that, fall protection is required by law when:
- Workers are working on a structure where they could fall from a height of 7 1/2 feet or more.
- Workers are working with thrustouts, beams, trusses, plates, or purlins at heights of 15 feet or more.
- Workers are working on roof surfaces that are sloped steeper than 7:12.
Falls at job sites and in workplaces can be prevented a number of different ways. Guardrails, toe boards, and other barriers that have been proven effective can be used to prevent falls. However, in cases where guardrails, toe boards, or other barriers will not work, workers must be wearing approved personal fall protection systems or positioning devices. You will need tie off when using the two basic types of fall protection systems; personal fall arrest and personal fall restraint.
Personal Fall Arrest
Personal fall arrest systems are designed to prevent a worker during a fall from hitting a structure or level below them. The fall arrest system consists of an anchorage, connectors, and a full body harness. It could also include a lifeline, a lanyard, a deceleration device, or a combination of these that will work.
Personal Fall Restraint
Personal fall restraint systems are designed to restrain workers from getting to close to edges over elevated heights. The fall restraint system is made up of anchorages, connectors, and a full body belt or harness. They can also include rope grabs, lanyards, and lifelines.
However, sometimes conventional fall protection is not logical or practical. In cases like these, you will want to use safety nets instead. When using safety nets, keep the following in mind.
- Check and make sure that the safety nets are hung with enough clearance below them to prevent any falling workers from hitting the structure or surface below.
- All safety nets should be set up within 10 vertical feet of the working area, but never more than 30 feet below the working area.
- All safety nets are required to extend at least 8 feet beyond the structure or building.
- Any nets where the vertical distance from the working area to the net is greater than 5 feet must extend at least 10 feet beyond the structure or building.
- All nets between 10 and 30 feet of the working area must extend at least 13 feet from the structure or building.
Any time that you need to use fall protection on the job site, be sure that you are using the correct equipment and that it is in good and working condition. Employers should already be using temporary floors, guardrails, toe boards, and other effective physical barriers. Workers should not have to depend on tie offs and safety nets for fall protection. However, when none of the above is possible, then safety nets must be used. All work should stop until the proper safety measures, such as nets and harnesses, are correctly put in place and everyone in the work area is aware of what is going on. This is why fall protection training is so important. Your workers will be well educated on the dos and don’ts of fall protection and will have a much better understanding of what to do when implementing fall protection measures within the workplace. Fall protection is not only required by the law, but it will also save lives and instill peace of mind among workers.