Fall Protection Safety Rails in The Hierarchy of Fall Prevention

29th Feb 2016

The Hierarchy of Fall Prevention is a graded or ranked list of fall protection solutions that range from the most ideal solution to the poorest. For example, fall protection safety rails would fall under #2, the passive fall protection. The Hierarchy of Fall Protection is the preferred order of control to reduce or eliminate fall hazards.

  1. Hazard Elimination- The preferred solution to all fall hazards is in their complete elimination. That is, if a task can be performed while on the ground, this is the method in which you should choose. Having HVAC equipment installed on ground level instead of on the edge of a roof is a fine example of eliminating a hazard.
  2. Passive Fall Protection- Implementing physical barriers like safety rails and guardrails around rooftop edges and covering holes are good examples of passive fall protection. Passive fall prevention provides a higher level of safety due to the fact the chances for error is less than using personal protective equipment.
  3. Fall Restraint Systems- In fall restraint systems, they are erected in a way in which a fall cannot occur. They are set up in a way that doesn’t allow the opportunity for a worker to physically travel to a fall hazard.
  4. Fall Arrest Systems- Fall arrest system are set up in a manner in which a fall can occur, but the fall is arrested within specific clearance margins.
  5. Administrative Controls- Administrative controls are rules, procedures or practices that are aimed to help a worker’s awareness of a fall hazard.

The first step in fall safety is to perform a fall hazard survey in order to identify and prioritize fall hazards and recommend options.  

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