During his 39-year railroad career the author worked with employees, front line supervisors, managers, executives, regulatory authorities and suppliers to establish processes and practices that were designed to help the organization achieve safety performance, production and cost-control goals. Organizations can achieve their performance goals when leaders, managers and employees have committed to establishing processes that are clearly defined and where roles and expectations of team members are clearly understood. It is equally important that organizations have established methods for monitoring progress toward achievable goals through a system of performance evaluation and feedback. The new ANSI/ASSE Fall Protection Code provides a model that will assist your organization in establishing an effective managed fall protection program. By providing an outline of required activities the new code will guide your organization toward an effective process for reducing or eliminating fall hazards.

The newly revised ANSI/ASSE Fall Protection Code is comprised of a set of standards that include; Definitions (Z-359.0), Safety Requirements for Subsystems and Components of Personal Fall Arrest Systems (Z-359.1), Minimum Requirements for a Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program (Z359.2), Positioning and Travel Restraint Systems (Z-359.3), Assisted Rescue and Self Rescue Systems (Z-359.4). The topic of this paper will be the new standard Z-359.2, which establishes the minimum guidelines for a fall protection program. Z-359.2 focuses on policies, duties and training, fall protection procedures, hazard survey, eliminating and controlling fall hazards including requirements for fall protection systems, design considerations for new buildings and facilities, rescue procedures, incident investigations and evaluation of program effectiveness.

Every employer who has workers exposed to fall hazards should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. Do you have policies in place that require the use of fall protection?

  2. Have all of your fall hazards been identified?

  3. Have all of your employees been trained in the use of these systems?

  4. Who is responsible to see that the equipment and systems are inspected and are safe?

  5. Who is responsible for rescue should an employee fall?

  6. Who is responsible for maintaining equipment?

  7. Do you have a program administrator or assigned responsibilities for trainers and others involved in administering your fall protection program?

This paper will focus on assisting your organization in understanding the general requirements of the ANSI/ASSE Fall Protection Code and in developing a process and plan for administering a comprehensive fall protection program. The principles and processes discussed are applicable to all levels of the organization from the senior managers, program administrators, trainers and end users. This paper does not propose to describe in detail all aspects of the new standard but should be viewed as a synopsis of the ANSI/ASSE Z359 Fall Protection Code.

The Scope and Purpose of the Z-359.2-2007 Standard

The standard is entitled, "Minimum Requirements for a Comprehensive Fall Protection Program." It applies to occupational and non-occupational activities except for construction and is intended for the use of organizations where employees are exposed to fall hazards.

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