Fall Protection

In the United States, falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities. Every year, on average, between 150 and 200 workers are killed and more than 100,000 are injured as a result of falls at construction sites. The OSHA standard for fall protection deals with both human and equipment-related issues. If there is any doubt about the safety of the equipment, do not use it. Replace any equipment that may have already been involved in a fall.


The OSHA standard (29 CFR 1926.501(b))(1)) states: “Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level 4 (Moretrench standard) shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems.” How many feet or more above? 4 (Moretrench Standard)- not sure if this is in the correct place

There are two types of fall protection, Fall Arrest, and Fall Restraint

 Fall Arrest- Designed to stop you from falling.  When at risk for falling 4 feet or more, you must use appropriate fall protection equipment. The fall arrest system is considered a type of appropriate fall protection equipment. The entire personal fall arrest system must be capable of withstanding the tremendous impact forces involved in a fall. Keep in mind that as a general rule, a person without protection will free fall 4 feet in half of a second and 16 feet in 1 second!  Your personal fall arrest system should include a full-body harness, a shock-absorbing lanyard or a rope grab, and vertical lifeline, and a sound anchorage able to support a load of 5000 pounds.

 Fall Restraint- Designed to prevent you from falling. This will include such items as parapet walls or guardrails. Fall restraints can also consist of any type of personal fall restraint system that will keep you from reaching an unprotected “fall” point. There are many types of fall restraint systems available, some examples include guardrails (on scaffolds, aerial lifts, and on the perimeter of buildings). When using they must have a top rail at least 39” to 45” above a working surface. The top rail must be able to withstand a force of 200 lbs in any direction.

Need to decide on feet and inch or ‘ and “. Also either use lbs or spell pounds out.

Mid rails must be placed mid-way between the top rail and the working surface, and be able to withstand a minimum force of 150 lbs. Top and mid-rails must be at least ¼” in diameter so as to prevent cuts and/or lacerations. Guardrails are used to protect individuals from falls greater than 6 feet.

Fall Protection Safety Trivia

  1. True or False: Safety harnesses only need to be inspected twice a year?

False, safety harnesses shall be visually inspected for damage before each use.

  1. True or False: The two types of fall protection are considered fall arrest and fall restraint?

True, these are the two types when dealing with fall protection.

  1. True or False: Guard rails should be used when working at heights greater than 6 feet?

True, guard rails are to be used to protect individuals from falls greater than 6 feet.