Fall Protection Hierarchy Helps You Make the Best Choice for Worker Safety

By law there are certain rules that companies have to follow. Worker safety is one of the most important. Protective and preventative measures help keep workers safe while performing dangerous job tasks involving heights and other hazards. Companies need to be well versed in OSHA and other safety regulations. Also, job tasks should be evaluated on a regular basis to see where improvements can be made.

The best thing your company can do when it comes to safety is to be aware of all job duties and the safety issues with each. This way safety options can be addressed ahead of time and workers will be safer. A job that includes heights adds even more possibility for danger so each company and worker should be prepared to safely perform his/her duties by using the hierarchy of fall protection.

Fall-related incidents in the work environment often involve slippery, cluttered, or unstable walking and working surfaces. Unprotected edges, holes in floors and walls, ladders positioned unsafely and misused fall protection are all causes for trouble.

The Fall Protection Hierarchy is also called Z359 and was created to protect workers from hazards on the job. The hierarchy was created by two entities – The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

The Fall Protection Hierarchy should be considered when designing fall protection solutions for existing and new facilities. The hierarchy starts with the ideal scenario and works its way down to the least appealing solution.

Elimination or Substitution are the best solutions for safety. Remove the hazard altogether or replace it with a safer option.

Passive Fall Protection is the preferred protocol when there’s no other way to eliminate the fall danger. Passive fall protection is available in several forms: handrails, guardrails, safety gates and rooftop railings are all examples of passive fall protection.

Fall Restraint is just like it sounds. It restrains a worker with a tether short enough to prevent that worker from reaching the fall hazard in the first place. Fall restraint often consists of a harness with a fixed length strap connected to the harness with D ring(s) and then to an anchorage point.

Fall Arrest is designed to bring a safe stop to a person who is falling. Obviously this is not the best scenario, but certain jobs may not allow for safer substitutions.

Administrative Controls can make tasks safer by reducing the frequency, duration, and severity of exposure to hazardous situations.  Safety policies, written rules, schedules, supervision and training can also help reduce the risk of a dangerous fall.

Every fall protection safety plan should have several parts that cover all aspects of the job. Take time to evaluate all tasks around the workplace and determine if there’s any way to make hazardous job duties safer for employees. Where fall protection is needed, purchase the correct protection for the job and make sure all workers know how to use it properly. Follow up with proper inspections, storage and maintenance. Carbis can help your company evaluate and choose the best fall prevention equipment to keep your workers their safest. Contact us today.

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