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Fall Protection FAQ’s

Fall Protection Frequently Asked Questions

Fall Protection FAQ’s



Q: What standards apply?
A: Fall protection is addressed in specific standards for the construction industry. This page highlights OSHA Standards, Federal Registers (rules, proposed rules, and notices) preambles to final rules (background to final rules), directives (instructions for compliance officers), standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards), example cases, and national consensus standards related to fall protection.


Q: What are the fall hazards and possible solutions associated with construction?
A: Occupational fatalities caused by falls remain a serious public health problem. The US Department of Labor (DOL) lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death, accounting for eight percent of all occupational fatalities from trauma. Before you can begin a fall protection program, you must identify the potential fall hazards in your workplace. Any time a worker is at a height of six feet or more, the worker is at risk and needs to be protected. The following references aid in recognizing and evaluating hazards and possible solutions in the workplace.


Q: What's the fall distance?
A: Safety harness information for each brand and fall distance charts available. Miller North MSA

Q: What is the trigger height for fall protection?
A: The standard trigger height for fall protection is 6 feet above a lower surface for construction applications. General industry requires fall protection at 4 feet above a lower surface.
Links provided above for each brand show specifics for about the necessary trigger height.

Q: What is fall protection?
A: Fall Protection is a system that is designed to protect personnel from the risk of falls when working at elevated heights at 6 feet or greater.


Q: Who is responsible to provide fall protection to faculty, staff and/or students?
A: Managers and Supervisors have primary responsibility for providing safe working conditions to include Fall Protection.


Q: Does someone working on a portable ladder need fall protection?
A: Neither the ladder standard (29 CFR 1926, subpart X) nor the fall protection standard (29 CFR 1926, subpart M) requires fall protection for workers while working on portable ladders.


Q: What is the difference in fall protection “Worker” and fall protection “Awareness” training?
A: Worker training targets individuals required to work in hazardous situations where fall protection equipment, such as fall arrest or restraint devices are used. “Awareness” training is required when an individual might access a roof to visually inspect equipment/conditions without actually getting near an unprotected edge. Do basically, awareness training allows workers to make informed decisions when working around areas with unprotected edge of 4 feet or more.


Q: Should tool belts be worn under or over full body harnesses?
A: Raising tools separate from the worker is sometimes safer and easier on the worker. If you must wear both, harnesses go on first. Tool belts should not impede the movement of harness straps during a fall and should not turn into a waist belt that could damage stomach organs in the fall.


Q: Where do the D-rings need to be located on the harness for my application?
A: The back D-ring is for fall arrest, the front D-ring is for climbing systems or personnel riding, the hip D-rings are for work positioning and travel restriction, and the shoulder D-rings are for personnel riding.


Q: How do I choose a harness?
A: There are many harnesses available and choice should be driven primarily by consideration for safety, functionality and comfort. Any properly designed harness is capable (if used correctly) of safety arresting a fall, but many work applications call for specific features. For instance; work positioning, ladder climbing and retrieval will require additional D-rings. Positioning may also require a built-in belt and back support and possibly an integral seat strap. Other features, such as integral padding, can greatly improve worker comfort, while others like bayonet style connectors and d-ring extenders can improve worker acceptance by making harnesses easier to don. North offers a full range of harnesses with all these features, and our staff is available to advice on harness choice.


Q: What's the difference between polyester and nylon webbing in harnesses and lanyards?
A: Nylon (polyamide) and polyester are both synthetic products with very consistent performance properties required for fall protection. Polyester's great advantage is that it is resistant to more chemical compounds and resists UV degradation better than polyamide.


Q: What happens if the webbing is fully extended? (Duralite)
A: If the webbing is fully extended the unit still has one complete wrap contained to ensure that the unit can absorb the energy of a fall when the unit is fully extended.