Falls are frequently to blame for fatal workplace accidents and catastrophic injuries. Planning for fall protection can assist in reducing or eliminating the risks involved with working at heights or close to openings. Working at heights will be the main topic of this article. Please refer to the OSH Answers page on the prevention of slips, trips, and falls for information regarding falls that occur on the same level.
Working at heights is what?
Any task that puts a person in danger of injury from a long fall is considered working at heights. This incident could take the form of, say, falling off a step ladder, from a roof, or through an opening in the ground or floor that is not properly secured. When operating above a tank, bin, hopper, or vat with an open top, fall protection may also be necessary. The utilization of forklift platforms, elevated work platforms, fixed suspended work platforms, swing staging, boatswain's chairs, aerial devices, suspended equipment, or persons carrying equipment are additional scenarios that may necessitate fall protection (e.g., personnel lifting units raised by cranes or hoists) In general, workplace health and safety laws demand action when a worker faces a 3 meter fall risk (10 feet). As specific criteria do differ, check with your jurisdiction. Keep in mind that the majority of jurisdictions demand the use of particular fall protection strategies either in place of or in addition to personal protective equipment (PPE). These actions typically include using some of the following: fixed obstacles (e.g., handrails, guardrails) protection for opening surfaces (e.g., covers, guardrails, etc.) Control and warning zones travel restraints or fall protection (i.e., a system to prevent a worker from falling from a work position, or from travelling to an unguarded edge from which the worker could fall) fall prevention system (e.g., safety nets) Fall arrest systems, or devices that will prevent a worker from falling before they hit the ground below, Additionally, there can be unique regulatory regulations pertaining to the usage of tools like scaffolding and ladders.
Why are fall protection plans important and what are they?
Fall protection plans will specify the policies and practices for setting up, maintaining, inspecting, utilizing, and disassembling any fall protection equipment as well as any ladders, scaffolds, or other platforms used for working at heights. Every location where employees are working at a height need its own unique fall safety plan. There isn't a program that """"suits all"""". The necessities and tools needed will vary from one workplace, one site, and one job to another.
How can I tell if my workplace needs a fall protection strategy?
The following questions should be researched and answered in every workplace: What does my jurisdiction's definition of working at heights mean? Do employees work at heights? Is it required (by law, another authority, or good practice) to do a danger assessment? Do you need a fall prevention strategy?
What are some things to look at during a fall protection hazard assessment?
Before any work is done, look for any areas or circumstances where there is a risk of falling. Are there any places where folks might slip up when performing activities they're supposed to? Examples include: reaching through an opening in a work surface from a height of 3 meters (10 feet) into functioning machinery into water or another liquid into or onto a hazardous substance or object Are there measures in place to prevent or lessen the chance of falls? Are employees given the necessary training to identify any new or previously undetected fall hazards and to report them right away? Do employees comprehend the safety precautions put in place to lessen falls (such as guardrails, safety nets, etc.)? Is all work-related equipment, such as guardrails, ladders, and scaffolding, reliable and in good condition? Are flooring in work areas clean and, to the greatest extent practicable, dry? Are employees given the knowledge and training necessary to know when and how to utilize protective equipment safely? Is personal protection equipment recommended, accessible, well-maintained, and used as directed?
What factors should be taken into account while creating a fall safety plan?
Those with direct experience and whose jobs will be most affected should be included in the development of the fall protection plan. Supervisors and employees whose jobs include fall hazards should also be consulted. Participate in the development process with the joint health and safety committee or representative. Include the steps to take in case of emergencies and fall rescues. The actions required to prevent the worker from striking the ground, objects, tools, or a lower level of a structure will be included in the fall arrest planning. The pendulum effect, which occurs when workers fall and may cause them to swing from side to side, must also be considered. A worker who has fallen and whose fall has been reported to authorities will probably need to be saved by other people. Site location is one of the many components of a site-specific fall protection plan (address, description, work area, tasks) Site-specific fall dangers, such as possible heights, roof slopes, the presence of electrical lines nearby, ground cover, etc. type of fall protection to be used, including anchor points, and clearance requirements equipment inspection any other requirements before beginning work (e.g., presence of first aid or rescue personnel, other safety equipment, barricades, etc.) rescue procedures worker sign off
Who has responsibilities for fall hazards?
An employer must: Develop written fall protection policy and procedures relevant for the workplace. Identify all areas where there is a potential of injury due to fall. Consider the use of passive fall arrest systems first, such as guardrails, or travel restraint or fall-restricting systems. Develop fall arrest rescue procedures which detail how to return workers safetly to the ground after a fall has been arrested. Educate and train workers and supervisors to understand and properly fulfill their role in fall protection and prevention. Workers should have easy access to policies and procedures so they can be reviewed when needed. Make sure workers are instructed in all of the fall-protection methods or systems used and, in the post-fall rescue procedure before being allowed into an area where there is a risk of falling. Make sure the fall-arresting system consists of the required components, including full body harness, self-retracting lanyard, energy absorbing lanyard or lanyard and energy absorber, and appropriate anchor point or horizontal life line. Make sure all protective equipment, clothing or devices are provided, used, and maintained in good condition. Make sure PPE is used effectively according to the policies and procedures, legal requirements, and the manufacturer's specifications. Review and amend the plan if necessary, on a regular schedule. Review and amend the plan after relevant workplace changes and after all falls or near falls to make sure the plan is effective and to see how it may be improved. A supervisor must: Make sure workers follow all regulations for your jurisdiction, and the workplace policy and procedures regarding fall protection. Inform workers about fall hazards and how to work safetly at heights. Make sure workers use and know how to wear the appropriate fall protection equipment. Act on information provided by workers (e.g., safety concerns about the situation, when equipment is broken, defective or missing, etc.). Participate in fall protection planning where relevant and when requested. A worker must: Alert the superviosr about the unknown or unexpected fall hazards before beginning or continuting any work. Participate in fall protection planning where relevant and when requested. Follow the fall protection regulations for your jurisdiction, and the workplace policy and procedures. Actively participate in fall protection education and training. Wear and use all protective equipment, clothing or devices appropriately, as determined by the employer. Inspect your personal fall protection system before each use. Protect the protective equipment from damage where possible (e.g., make sure the lifeline or lanyard is protected during use from sharp edges, heat, flame or corrosive substances). Notify the supervisor or employer to any broken, defective or missing protective equipment. Be aware of your right to refuse unsafe work.
Does the fall protection plan include training for those working at heights?
Ontario and Newfoundland both have mandatory training and instruction requirements for those working at heights. Please see the Fall Protection - Legislation for Training Requirements for more details. Even if training is not specifically required for those working at heights, it is still a very important part of fall protection. Selecting the proper personal protective equipment is complex and understanding how to wear and use it is not always intuitive. Workers and employers must understand how and when their equipment should be maintained, and how to identify damage or incorrectly assembled systems. Users must also have a clear understanding of how to work safely on equipment such as elevated platforms, lifts and scaffolds.
Does the fall protection plan include a rescue plan?
Often after a fall is arrested, the worker remains suspended in the air and will need to be rescued by others. In other situations, the worker could have injuries that require first-aid. A rescue plan will detail how to return fallen workers to a place of safety while keeping rescuers safe. Like other forms of emergency planning, it is essential that everyone understands their role and what they must do after a fall. Before beginning the work, discuss the situation with local emergency services to see if they are able to assist when there is a need to rescue a fallen worker. Leaving a worker suspended for a long period of time can be dangerous to their health and safety. Designated rescuers must be adequately trained and have easy access to all the equipment they need to effectively rescue others safely and as quickly as possible. A rescue plan should: Designate, educate, and train those who will conduct the rescue. Be written and posted before work begins. Identify on-site first aid personnel and include all contact information. Outline the necessary first aid equipment that will be needed on site. Provide contact information for local emergency medical and fire services, if needed. Identify all emergency exits and access routes within the worksite. Identify all available systems of communications. Make sure there is a backup system for your primary mode of communication. Develop procedures for rescue, including rope rescue, retrieval lines, location of anchor points, etc. Develop procedures for using any powered mobile equipment, mechanical hoisting systems or elevating devices that may be required during the rescue. Detail procedures necessary to clear and secure work areas while they remain unsafe or if any ongoing work would obstruct a rescue. Provide for education and training workers involved so they understand what they must do after a fall and during a recovery operation. Review and amend the rescue plan on a regular schedule, after relevant changes to the worksite, and after all rescues or related incidents""" - https://www.affordablecebu.com/