According to OSHA-1926 Subpart M, fall protection is required whenever the threat of a fall 6 feet or more to a lower level is present. Conduct a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) in order to safe guard employees against fall hazards.
- Look for fall hazards such as unprotected floor openings/edges, shafts, skylights, stairwells, and roof openings/edges.
- Identify all potential tripping and fall hazards before work starts.
Key considerations when implementing fall protection:
- Practice good housekeeping. Keep cords, welding leads and air hoses out of walkways or adjacent areas.
- Use handrails when you go up or down stairs.
- Guardrail systems shall consist of a top that is 42 inches high (plus or minus three inches) and a mid rail installed halfway between the top rail and the working surface.
- Toe boards shall be a minimum of 3.5 inches high.
- Secure and stabilize all ladders before climbing them.
- Never jump from any height.
- Select, wear, and use fall protection equipment appropriate for the task.
- Inspect fall protection equipment for defects before each use. (This includes all harnesses, hardware, connectors, and lifelines).
- Replace damaged equipment as soon as it is determined to be defective.
- Never use equipment which is not in good condition.
- Use only rated equipment, remembering to check the tag on the Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS).
- Always secure lanyards to a suitable anchor, above your work area if possible.
- Do not modify manufactured safety equipment (i.e. knots in lanyards).
- Never allow acids, caustics or other corrosive materials to come into contact with any of the safety equipment.
- Store your equipment in a dry place.
- Inspect lanyards each time prior to use for wear and tear or chemical exposure.
- Never tie off to electrical conduit, chemical lines, or any other unapproved anchor point.
- All anchor points must withstand without failure 5000lbs.
- If an employee takes a fall in a PFAS, destroy both the lanyard and harness before throwing it away. (This is to ensure that it is not reused.)
- If a fall has taken place while using a self-retracting lifeline, take lifeline out of service and send back to manufacturer.
Remember: Think about fall hazards before work starts. Knowing when fall protection is
required will help to manage fall hazards and focus attention on prevention efforts.