With this in mind, here are some codes and information regarding fall protection that every project manager and worker should fully understand before stepping onto a job site. Because regulations can change, it’s important that you consult the appropriate professionals when considering fall protection compliance.
Meet or exceed these codes:
- Construction – OSHA 1926
- Construction Fall Protection – OSHA 1926.500-502(including Subpart M)
- General Industry – OSHA 1910
- Fall Protection – ANSI Z359 – 2007, 2012 & 2016 and ANSI A10.32-2012
- Canadian Fall Protection – CSA Z259.16
- EM-385 – Fall protection training requirements for competent persons on site
The applicable standards and regulations depend on the type of work being done and the fall protection equipment and type of system being used.
About Fall Protection Systems
Every personal fall protection system incorporates three components:
- Anchorage/anchorage connector
- Body support (full body harness)
- Connecting device (shock absorbing lanyard, Self-retracting Lanyard (SRL) connecting the full body harness to the anchor)
When used together, these components form a fall protection system. Consult your state or provincial regulatory agency, OSHA or your fall protection engineer for more information regarding the right personal fall protection system for you.
Fall protection systems require detailed documentation that confirms them as certified to the standard. The documentation should address:
- Design of the individual components, complete system and supporting structure and associated approvals
- Construction details/procedures on how the system is to be installed
- Operational plans regarding system use, limitations, “required personnel” (see below) and rescue procedures
- Inspection criteria
- Training documentation
Qualified Person: A person with an accredited degree or certification with extensive experience or sufficient professional standing, who is considered proficient in planning and reviewing the conformity of fall protection and rescue systems.
Competent Person: A highly trained and experienced individual who is assigned by the employer to be responsible for all elements of a fall safety program.
This person should also be proficient in identifying existing and predictable fall hazards, and have the authority to stop work in order to eliminate hazards.
Authorized Person: A person who is assigned by their employer to work around or be subject to potential or existing fall hazards
Common Types of Personal Fall Protection Systems
- Fall arrest systems will prevent a falling person from contacting a lower level in a fall.
- Fall restraint systems prevent workers from reaching the leading edge of a fall hazard, eliminating the ability to fall.
Important: After any fall, a personal fall arrest system must be immediately removed from service, inspected and repaired or confirmed suitable for reuse per manufactures requirements and guidelines.
For the record: We are not OSHA, or any other public or private regulation agency. We do temporary and permanent modular construction and we care deeply about safety. The information contained here is what we consider a starting point for anyone who needs to understand safety measures for fall protection and what is required to comply with the corresponding OSHA / ANSI standards. You should always consult qualified individuals to understand your requirements and compliance with safety regulations.
We hope you find these tips helpful for getting started in understanding proper fall protection. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov/. Have comments or questions? Leave them in the comments section below.