Fall Protection FAQs
Find answers to some of the most common safety questions related to fall protection in construction.
Why is fall protection important?
Falls are a common cause of injury and death in construction. According to the CDC, there were 401 fall fatalities in 2019 alone. While falls are a hazard in industries outside of construction, construction represents 51% of all fall fatalities across the nation.
To reduce injuries and death, OSHA requires that employers identify, then eliminate or control all fall hazards at construction sites. Read more about fall protection in our Fall Protection Toolbox Talk.
What are the “Fatal Four” in construction?
According to OSHA, the top four construction hazards, or struck-by hazards, are:
Safety orientation should cover each of these hazards, as well as how to prevent them on the jobsite. Read more about the fatal four in our Fatal Four Hazards Toolbox Talk.
When is fall protection required by OSHA?
In construction, OSHA requires that fall protection be implemented when working at elevations of six feet or more.
What are some common fall hazards?
Fall hazards are very common on construction work sites. They can include:
Exterior construction work areas
OSHA provides safety prevention protocols for each of these hazards, ensuring that construction progress can continue while maintaining workers’ safety.
What is the hierarchy of fall protection?
From most effective to least effective, the hierarchy of fall protection includes:
Elimination of fall hazard
Prevention, by adding guardrails, barriers, etc.
Control, by using safety nets, harnesses, fall arrests, etc.
Safety training and the use of PPE also increase the safety of everyone on a construction site.
What is a personal fall protection system as defined by OSHA?
When a fall hazard cannot be eliminated or engineered out, a fall protection system must be implemented. A personal fall protection system includes all the components an employer uses to provide protection, or safely arrest, an employee in case of a fall. These components can include harnesses, lanyards, and retractable lifelines.
What are the four methods of fall protection?
Fall protection can look very different depending on the situation. By assessing the jobsite and the needs of the workers, most fall protection can be categorized into one of the following:
Each type of fall protection has its own standards which OSHA defines.
What other resources can help improve my jobsite safety?
For presenting consistent and timely safety topics to your teams, digital toolbox talks are a great tool to utilize. To keep the focus on the safety topics themselves (and not having to find and schedule them), consider investing in toolbox talk software. This will give you digital sign-in sheets and more organized documentation in case you ever need to show safety measures. Check out Raken's library of toolbox talk topics—ready for your teams to implement.