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Environmental Health and Safety

Fall Protection

When work is performed on elevated surfaces such as roofs or during construction activities, protection against falls frequently must be considered. Fall arresting systems, which include lifelines, full-body harnesses and other associated equipment, are often used when fall hazards cannot be controlled by railings, floors, nets and other means. These systems are designed to stop a free fall of up to six feet while limiting the forces imposed on the wearer.

There must be a written fall protection work plan on site during any work task that requires fall protection.


Scope and Application

Fall protection is required for most construction activities by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) whenever the work is performed in an area that is six feet higher than its surroundings. Exceptions to this rule include work done from scaffolds, ladders and stairways, derricks and cranes, and work involving electrical transmission and distribution. Also excluded is the performance of inspections, investigations or assessments of existing conditions prior to the beginning or after the completion of construction.


Program Description

Fall protection is required whenever work is performed in an area that is six feet above its surroundings and can generally be provided through the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems. A fall protection program that provides for alternative fall protection measures may be implemented where it can be clearly demonstrated that the use of these systems is infeasible or creates a greater hazard.

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