Fall Protection Hierarchy – Striving to Omit Hazards on the Job

Safety on the job should always be your company’s first concern. You might think it should be profits, but you’ll lose a great deal of your profits if fall prevention is not your first objective. Falls and other on the job injuries cost your company in manpower, time and money. Protective and preventative measures need to be in place to keep your workers safe while performing jobs involving heights and other safety hazards.

When it comes to the force of gravity, no one is immune. Working a job that requires heights means the pull of gravity is even stronger and each company and worker need to be prepared to safely perform his/her duties by using the hierarchy of fall protection.

The Fall Protection Hierarchy is also referred to as Z359 and sometimes called the “preferred order of control”. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) created Z359 to protect workers from hazards on the job. The hierarchy begins with a “perfect world” scenario and works its way down to the least appealing solution.

Eliminating a dangerous practice or substituting a safer alternative is the ideal solution. For example, if a flatbed driver has cargo that must be protected by tarping, the most dangerous way to perform the job is by climbing on top of the load. The next best solution would be to have a platform with guardrails that positions the driver above the load so tarping can be done without falling. The ideal solution is to keep the driver’s feet on the ground and not having to lift the full weight of the tarp. An automated overhead tarping system solves both issues and creates the safest solution for tarping a flatbed.

Passive Fall Protection can also be called Fall Prevention. If there’s no way to eliminate the fall danger, then passive fall protection is the next best protocol. Passive fall protection can take on several forms: guardrails, safety gates, handrails, warning lines and rooftop railings all qualify.

Fall Restraint is usually a harness with a fixed length of strap that’s attached to an anchor. This restraint prevents workers from reaching the fall hazard. Fall restraint allows a worker to perform his/her job easily but not move far enough to get their center of gravity over an unprotected edge or open hole.

Fall arrest is a system that’s designed to bring a safe stop to a person who is already falling. This is not the ideal scenario, but some job duties may not allow for safer substitutions. Each fall arrest system must include the four essentials of fall arrest:

• Full body harness

• Lanyard

• Deceleration Device

• Anchorage with a connector that can withstand forces at least two times the maximum arrest force per person attached.

A worker needs proper energy absorption and deceleration; otherwise the fall will apply a huge force to the worker’s body and anchorage when stopped.

Finally Administrative Controls like reducing the duration, frequency and severity of a worker’s exposure to hazardous situations can make tasks safer.  Written rules, safety policies, schedules, supervision and training all help reduce the risk of an authorized worker encountering a fall hazard.

Take time to evaluate all tasks around the workplace and determine if there is any way to make hazardous jobs safer for employees. Where fall prevention and protection is needed, purchase the correct protection for the job and ensure that all workers know how to use it properly. Follow up with proper inspections, storage and maintenance.

Contact Carbis today and let us help you determine what changes need to be made around the jobsite so your employees can work better and safer.

Newer Posts