Fall Hazard Control: Part 3 Prevention

In our introductory post about this topic we discussed how fall hazard control – and corresponding cost control – is increasingly being considered in constructability analyses. “Constructability” is a project management technique that reviews a building project from start to finish, during the pre-construction phase.

We also introduced the three types of fall hazard control: elimination, prevention, and protection. In the previous post we discussed elimination. We will discuss protection in a subsequent post.

Constructability techniques that address fall prevention need to be identified in the planning or design phase of a project’s life cycle but can also be implemented at later stages. The reliance on equipment and physical installations as opposed to work process planning allows fall prevention consideration to take place throughout a facility’s life cycle.

Here are some examples of fall prevention techniques that have gained wide acceptance:

  • Extensive use by all the trades of mobile elevating work platforms and telescopic scaffolding
  • Crane-suspended baskets and suspended scaffolding are now recognized as being inherently safer than reliance on personal fall protection equipment
  • Bringing the work to the worker who is located in a guarded work location surrounded by railing has many productivity and safety advantages
  • The use of warning lines for low-sloped roofing personnel is a significant life saver, if measures have been taken to equip the six-foot area adjacent to the fall hazard with a more substantial method of protection
  • The use of perimeter netting around the edges is becoming more common especially on foreign projects
  • Barricades of all kinds provide protection by preventing exposure to edges or openings and can remain behind to be used for future applications
  • Self-adjusting lanyards (basically horizontal lifelines) are especially flexible in their ability to limit access to perimeter hazards.

The passive nature of fall prevention systems is dependent on adequate inspection and maintenance to preserve their effectiveness, as is an understanding of the fine line between prevention and protection.

The next post in this series will discuss recent regulatory changes that recognize prevention systems and the differences in their anchorage requirements.