Risk Recognition: the ability through experience and training to detect fall hazards and articulate these to decision-makers and communicate that they will produce serious injury and death (even one in a million chance) and provide the solution choices. The selection of solutions includes means of elimination, prevention and fall arrest and the final selection must rely least on those means that require training.

  • Difficult exposure is a risk that does not have a reasonable solution that is typically a harness and lanyard alone

  • Difficult exposures involve the following:

  • Degree of remoteness: rescue will take longer due to the time to reach a victim such as confined spaces and pipe racks

  • Little or no access: chaseways, nuclear plant containment areas

  • Vehicles at customer sites such as access to the top of tank trucks

  • Bridge crane travel zones that would interfere with anchorage Connections for horizontal lifelines

  • Transition points, e.g., ladder to platform or roof

  • Traditional work practice such as walking the rim of an open trailer for cleaning

Changes in sequence, emergency procedures that give rise to access short cuts such as to reach a crane headache ball that became jammed inside the steel structure frame.

Spur of the moment awkward access decisions - with no safety input or huddle called.

Responsibility for Fall Hazards: Architects most frequently design fall hazards into their drawings without reasonable regard for adequate means of access and fall protection during the life cycle. Engineers frequently do not design for efficient fall protection. Architect/engineer plans and specifications must be reviewed by qualified fall protection engineers before the structure is built. The best hazard is an eliminated hazard at the source - the design stage. When the fall hazard gets to the worker level for recognition and solution, it is far too late, and unreasonable.

Designing a safe workplace is a team effort and proper coordination of a project must not be held hostage by outdated concepts surrounding no responsibility for means and methods by classes of professionals. Create anchorage points throughout a plant or site is a bullet to bite after thorough analysis by a qualified fall protection engineering service.

Tolerable risks: are too high when Industry and construction employers consider acting only after an injury or a citation; and risk recognition in advance is not practiced or encouraged. Risk tolerance is at the right level when competent advance risk recognition is routinely practiced and any chance of serious injury or death is unacceptable when practical means of prevention measures would have eliminated or minimized the risk:


Hazard Example 1: Workers fall from scaffold ladders when descending. Reason: the ladder swivels during mounting. Control: Swing gates must be ordered for each ladder access to a platform.

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