Fall Protection

Am I In Danger?

You are at risk of falling objects when you are beneath cranes, scaffolds, etc., or where overhead work is being performed. There is a danger from flying objects when power tools, or activities like pushing, pulling, or prying, may cause objects to become airborne. Injuries can range from minor abrasions to concussions, blindness, or death.

How Do I Avoid Hazards?

  • Wear hardhats.
  • Stack materials to prevent sliding, falling, or collapse.
  • Use protective measures such as toeboards and debris nets.
  • Power Tools, Machines, etc.
  • Use safety glasses, goggles, face shields, etc., where machines or tools may cause flying particles.
  • Inspect tools, such as saws and lathes, to insure that protective guards are in good condition.
  • Make sure you are trained in the proper operation of powder actuated tools.

Fall Protection

Consider your work area. Are there locations from which someone could fall? What sort of protection is in place to prevent a fall? And is there equipment to stop a fall?

Types of Fall Protection Equipment

There are several types of fall protection equipment available including:

  • All Arrest

  • Travel Restraints

  • Guardrails

It is important to understand the difference between a fall arrest system and travel restraint system. These are commonly used in the construction industry, but may apply to many other situations where employees must work at heights.

A worker may be required to wear a fall arrest system. A fall arrest system consists of a full body harness and a lanyard with a shock absorbed. The fall arrest equipment may be attached directly to an anchorage or connected to an anchored lifeline.

Where guardrails have not been provided, a restraint system may be used to restrict a worker’s travel distance and prevents them from getting too close to the roof edge. Travel restraint equipment is comprised of an anchored lifeline or lanyard that attaches to the worker’s harness.

Guardrails are commonly used on construction sites, as they are a convenient means of protecting workers. Guardrails protect roof openings and the roof edge. Guardrails must be attached to the edge or as close to the open edge as possible. If rails must be removed for material handling, fall restraint equipment must be worn by the exposed workers


  • Thoroughly inspect all nylon webbing for frayed edges, broken fibers, burn marks, deterioration or other visible signs of damage. Stitching should be intact and not torn or loose.
  • Check to see that buckles and D-rings are not distorted or damaged. Look closely at all components for stress cracks, deformity, gouging, corrosion and sharp edges. Inspect connection points where the buckle or D-ring is attached to the harness. Insure that no stitching is pulled and that the buckle or D-ring is securely attached.
  • Inspect all rivets and grommets to be certain they are not deformed, and are securely fastened to the harness and cannot be pulled loose.
  • If using a shock absorber type of lanyard, look for the warning tag which indicates that the lanyard has been exposed to a fall.
  • Snap hooks and eyes should not be distorted or bent. Inspect them for cracks, sharp edges, gouges or corrosion. Check to be sure the locking mechanism is operating properly and that there is no binding of the mechanism.
  • Test the locking mechanism by pulling sharply on the cable end to be sure it locks immediately and firmly.

If you find any of these conditions during the inspection, do not use the equipment..

Fire Extinguisher and Inspections

Fire extinguishers can be an important tool in preventing a small fire from growing larger. However, they should not be used to combat large or rapidly spreading fires. The most important thing to do during a fire is to get yourself to safety then call the proper authorities to combat the fire. A building and the property inside is not worth putting yourself or anyone at risk trying to put it out with a fire extinguisher. It is important to understand how to use a fire extinguisher and the limitations they have Fire Extinguisher Limitations

A dry chemical fire extinguisher such as the common red “ABC” extinguishers will reach a distance between 5 and 20 feet. It is important to be familiar with the models used in your work areas and the effective distance they can be used for.

A 10lb to 20lb dry chemical fire extinguisher will last anywhere from 10 to 25 seconds. Again, this depends on the model and weight you are using.

Fire extinguishers are only designed to fight small fires. A rule of thumb a lot of professionals use is the size of the fire should not be any larger than the size of a small trash can.

Fire Extinguisher Inspection Tips

  • Extinguishers should be periodically checked every 30 days. There should be a formal check of all fire extinguishers onsite annually. These inspections should be documented. Ensure the pressure is okay when inspecting a fire extinguisher. There is a gauge that has an arrow that should be in the green portion of the gauge. If the arrow is in the red the fire extinguisher needs to be tagged out of service until recharged.
  • Check to make sure the pin is still in place. Often times the pin is bumped out of place leaving the chance of accidental discharge occurring.
  • Look for rust on the container and ensure that the label is in good readable condition.

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