Every person would agree that an engineered fall protection system is better than a non-engineered system which acts primarily to look like it works, may in fact work by arresting a fall but has never been tested and serves only to connect a worker to the structure.

With sufficient time and money, the engineered system can be achieved, of course, meets OSHA and ANSI standards for safety. Together with engineering the system into the workplace for approved anchorages, good training demonstrates the merits and drawbacks of the system, there is every reason why the system should work. Ideally, the Qualified Person ensures that the as-built drawings are available to prove the efficiency of the system.

At the other end of the spectrum, with no time left and the job already started, it is a scramble for tie-off points and the work is done with some attachment and much more non-attachment. Here the safety consultant tries to help with useful suggestions as to what tie-offs could be used although not engineered. Is "do your best enough?"

Planning time must be scheduled for pre-plan submittal and review.

The speaker estimates 50% of harnessed workers hit the ground in fall fatalities. Surely this would mean that many employers are sliding by hoping no-one will notice while the job is finished and the workers stay on their feet without properly using their equipment.

Unspecified and untested anchorages force workers to do their best:

  • What is the chance of a tie-off point coming apart?

  • What height/location will make a difference - overhead to swing falls

  • Time to pre-plan and get engineers involved

  • Sometimes they are never attached due to no local anchor availability.

  • Axiom: We will never get any better performance than our safety goals.

  • Anchor points need to be specified in design plans by a Qualified Person.

  • Subs must be held accountable through their contracts.

  • Statistics: Flat for years 2000–2002 (latest) - not decreasing

ngineered Fall Safety - Hazard Removal - Fall Prevention - Fall Protection

Choice requires pre-planning

Preparation of Employees Through Training:

  • How to recognize a hazard

  • How to eliminate/prevent/protect

Skilled trainers:

  • Objective (products and services)

  • Applicable (deals with real world)

  • Accurate (includes most contemporary info)

  • Ongoing (reshaping v. an event)

  • Integrated (competent, qualified, authorized people)

Enforcement Through Observation:



  • Attitudes/Culture: the extremes;

  • Good: A scope of work, a written plan for means and methods with adequate protection

  • Reviewed by a Qualified Person in fall protection for proper anchorages

  • Training is followed by a written test to become an authorized user

  • Putting work observation into a better training program

  • A trained Competent Person stopping the work if necessary

  • Versus:

  • Ominous: No plan or a generic overview, little clarity

  • Worker, supervisor or safety rep selects tie-off point

  • Never observing fall hazards; providing inadequate protection such as a harness and lanyard

  • Worker hoping no-one will notice his non-use of equipment

  • Infallibility of worker in his own mind - playing the odds, he never fell before

  • Observation by supervisors is regarded as an intrusion

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