Workplace Fall Protection

Falls to lower levels continues to rank amongst the most frequent cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. The reasons these incidents occur can have their origins in several areas: weaknesses in the management systems that influence fall protection programs, and others are related to human behaviors and beliefs. The use of audit, assessment, and observation programs can proactively identify system weaknesses and improper employee behaviors.
Because falls continue to be a significant contributor to workplace incidents, OSHA conducts a National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction annually. 645 workers died from incidents involving falls from heights, and an additional 49,250 received injuries requiring them to take time away from work in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS).
Your personal fall protection system is your last line of defense between you and the levels below. To assure yourself that it is in good working order, make sure to give your harness & lanyard a thorough inspection each day before you put it on. When you don your harness, take the time to adjust the straps and fit so that it will provide you with the maximum protection in the event of a fall.
Inspect your gear to identify any defects such as:
Metal components (D-ring, tongue and buckle, keepers, double lock snap hook, grommets, adjuster buckle etc.) are not to be damaged, broken, distorted, or have sharp edges, burrs, cracks, worn parts or corrosion.
Webbing material is not frayed, does not have any broken fibers, cuts, tears, abrasions, mold, burns, discoloration that may indicate chemical exposure or rotting, and pulled out or cut stitching.
Snap hooks, adjusters, swages, thimbles, are not to be damaged, distorted, broken, nor do they have any sharp edges, burrs, worn parts, cracks or corrosion. Also, make sure the gate mechanism is engaging and working properly.
Confirm there are no signs that the equipment has been subjected to a fall such as the lanyard’s load impact indicator.

The Technology

behind fall protection equipment and the consensus standards that set the expectations for how it must operate continue to evolve, yet workers still fall from heights almost daily.

What Is Left

is to understand the incidents and the reasons they occur.