Safety Training Program Highlights - Safety Meeting Kits - Fall Protection

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Safety Training Program Highlights

Safety Meeting Kits » Fall Protection
« The Importance... Protection Table of Contents Summary - Fall Protection »

Fall Protection - Outline

The following outline summarizes the major points of information presented in the Course on Fall Protection.

The outline can be used to survey the Course before taking it on a computer, as well as to review the Course when a computer is not available.

Some of the areas where fall prevention is critical include:
  • Climbing ladders.
  • Working on scaffolds.
  • Other "off the ground" environments.

Each year falls "on the job" take a devastating toll.
  • Over 11,000 deaths.
  • More than 200,000 disabling injuries.

When working off the ground the right "mindset" is essential for proper safety.
  • Safety must be first and foremost in your thoughts.
  • Remember to scan work areas for potential hazards.

When working on Ladders:
  • Inspect the rungs before climbing.
  • Use the "three-point climb".
  • Face the front of the ladder.
  • Keep your hands on the side rails.
  • Keep your weight centered between the rails.

Working in lift buckets or other portable platforms requires extra protection.
  • Always secure yourself with a "tie-off."

Workers are more vulnerable when they are "on the move" above the ground.
  • Always watch your step.
  • Be aware of any trip hazards (remove them if possible.)
  • Look for posted warning signs.
  • Obey restrictions regarding authorized and protected areas.

Never work above ground in severe weather, such as:
  • Wind.
  • Rain.

If you are not feeling "100 percent", weakness or slow reflexes could cause real problems.

Don't work above ground if you are:
  • Under the influence of alcohol.
  • Taking certain medications.
  • Sick.

Some people have a fear of heights.
  • Don't force them to work above their comfort level.
  • It could endanger everyone's safety.

The goal of a Fall Protection Plan is to eliminate the possibility of dangerous falls.
  • The Plan shows which work areas present hazards.
  • At most facilities, precautions must begin at four feet above the ground.
  • In the construction industry, precautions must begin at six feet off the ground.

Complete fall protection must include at least one of the following components:
  • Guard Rails.
  • Safety Nets.
  • Personal Fall Arrest Systems.

Installing a guard rail is an effective fall prevention system.
  • Rails can be temporary or permanent.
  • Some are fitted with screens and "toe boards."

Rails must:
  • Be able to support 200 pounds.
  • Stand 39 - 45 inches above the walking surfaces.
  • Include a mid-rail.
  • Be inspected during regular intervals.

When guard rails can not be installed, "Safety Nets" are often employed.
  • These are commonly used on construction sites.
  • "Personnel Nets" are designed to catch falling workers.
  • "Debris Nets" are designed with a tighter mesh, to catch falling tools.

Inspect safety nets periodically to ensure that they remain in good condition.
  • A minimum look at them every week.
  • They should also be inspected after anything lands in the net.
  • Tools and other materials that end up in the net should be removed quickly.

If the potential for falls cannot be designed out of a worksite, then "Personal Fall Arrest Systems" should be used.

Personal Fall Arrest Systems are comprised of three components which work together.
  • A "Full Body Harness."
  • A "Connecting Device."
  • An "Anchor Point."

Before you use it, test and closely inspect all fall prevention equipment to:
  • Experience how the equipment works.
  • Make any necessary adjustments.
  • Become comfortable and familiar with the system.

A full body harness provides the most support, and distributes weight evenly over three important areas of the body... the:
  • Shoulders.
  • Buttocks.
  • Thighs.

For a proper fit of a full body harness:
  • Hold the back D-ring and shake it until the straps fall into place.
  • Slip the straps over the shoulders so the D-ring is in the middle of the upper back.
  • Buckle the waist strap.
  • Connect the leg straps by pulling the buckles between the legs and securing them to the other ends of the straps.
  • Firmly and securely tighten all buckles (but not so tight as to restrict movement).

Once your harness has been fitted, your next step is to hook it up to a connecting device.
  • This links you to the anchor point.
  • The most common types of connecting devices are "Lanyards" and "Retracting Lifelines."

Lanyards are short ropes or straps which:
  • Limit your possible falling distance.
  • Are available with shock absorbers if they are over two feet long.
  • Are fitted with snaphooks.

Self-retracting lifelines have a drum-wound line allowing a wider range of movement.
  • A braking mechanism inside the casing quickly stops a fall.
  • They lifelines are also fitted with snaphooks, which must be securely locked into place.

When your job requires some mobility, a "Fixed Lifeline" should be used.

There are two types:
  • Horizontal.
  • Vertical.

"Horizontal Lifelines" stretch across a work surface from one point to another.

"Vertical Lifelines" hang from an independent anchor point.
  • This allows you to safely climb ladders.
  • Connection devices used with these lifelines must be equipped with a locking mechanism (they grab the lifeline during a fall).

"Bosun's Chairs" are often used with vertical lifelines.
  • They are used when someone is working off the side of a structure.
  • Two independent lifelines are needed (one for the chair, one for you).

Retracting lifelines require special caution.
  • Getting more than four feet away from the anchor point risks a "Swing Fall" (swinging back toward the anchor point).

With any lifeline, anchor points must always be secure.
  • During a fall your body weight creates significant force.
  • Anchor points should support 5,000 pounds per person.
  • Fixtures such as pipes and electrical conduits should not be used.

Inspect fall protection equipment before work is begun.
  • Look for frayed or broken harness straps.
  • Ensure that the D-ring is securely attached, and not bent out of shape.
  • Inspect for tears or missing stitches on harnesses.



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