A Managed Fall Protection Program (MFPP) addresses the critical principles of a fall protection program (FPP): hazard identification, elimination and control; education and training. It is the first comprehensive approach that incorporates both safety and structural engineering methods to address policies, procedures, definitions, job safety analysis, calculations, rescue and training. The MFPP provides a structured approach to uniting the multi-layered components of people, business values, standards, and regulations. The term managed is important as it addresses the issues considered unclear and unachievable. In addition to clarifying existing terminology, the MFPP has developed new definitions that provide a stronger link between regulatory guidelines and practical application. This program untangles the complexities of difficult issues and establishes clear criteria to develop and execute a fall protection program for small, as well as, large corporations.
There are two primary motivators for using a MFPP - statistics and implementation. Falls remain the number one killer of workers in the construction industry and the number two killer of workers in private industry (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Given the numerous fall protection equipment manufacturers and consultants, fall hazards should be extinct or at least significantly diminished, unfortunately statistics and client experiences indicate otherwise.
Joe is the owner of a roofing company subcontracted for a project. He also serves as foreman and 'safety person' but has not completed adequate fall protection training. He decides to sit on a skylight while eating his lunch and when finished he pushes himself up which shatters the skylight and causes him to fall fifteen-feet and receive severe injuries.
Preparing to pour concrete into forms, a laborer climbs up a ladder on one side of the forms and steps over the form to stand on an unguarded scaffold on the opposite side. Carrying two hand trowels and a brush, he falls, striking his head on the concrete slab at ground level and sustains fatal injuries. His employer felt no training was necessary because the employee had done previous work for the employer and had 21 years experience.
Companies experienced difficulty in developing an effective fall protection program. They believed it was difficult to implement, considered the regulations guiding the process confusing and bare minimum and realized there were missing elements. The number of injuries and fatalities occurring were both high and frequent as companies stampeded to find a solution. The across-the-board misconception was that one neat and perfect solution existed - fall protection equipment. Selecting fall protection equipment appeared to be quick and easy and gave the illusion of low maintenance. However, the use of equipment brought attention to the training, clear height distance and swing fall calculations, anchorage requirements and compatibility issues that had to be addressed. In addition, companies had to convince their workforce to wear the equipment, wear it correctly and each time they worked at heights.