This sidesteps the entire issue of falling from a great height. Just find a way not to have to work at height.
Easier said than done. But it’s possible sometimes. Long tools can do the work while the worker stands on the ground. Or even non-human workers can step in.
Again, easier said than done.
Fall prevention can actually be split into two sub-categories that do essentially the same thing.
- Fall guarding
- Fall restraint
Fall guarding is stopping the falling from even happening, typically with a barrier. For instance, a guard rail.
Sometimes, there’s just not an option for this solution, especially during construction, when you have a leading edge that’s being worked on.
Ironically, your employees may even be installing a guard rail when they slip and fall off the as-yet unprotected ledge.
Fall restraint involves personal fall protection equipment that keeps you attached to something at the height at which you’re working. For instance, a full body harness attached to a self retracting lifeline.
This is typically also what is referred to when someone says “personal fall protection,” because the chosen fall protection product doesn’t apply broadly for all workers, just to one at a time.
This can leave a huge gap. Because each employee is personally responsible for adhering to the fall protection safety procedure, for example, of putting on the harness. While the self retracting nature of some fall protection safety equipment is a nice feature, it doesn’t matter if you don’t connect it properly.
Why a Full Body Harness Isn’t Good Enough
There’s a simple but fatal Achilles Heel to a full body harness. It has to be worn, and it has to be attached to something. In other words, it depends on 100% adherence and 0% human error.
This is simply an unrealistic scenario. Mistakes happen, and just one mistake can lead to a costly, fatal outcome. That’s why we suggest a belt-and-suspenders approach.
Fall arrest is all about what you can do for fall protection safety after you’ve already fallen. For instance, i2k AirPads can safely catch you even if all previous safety measures have failed.
Methods of fall arrest must be shock absorbing so that it mitigates the danger behind hitting a surface from a great height. However, not all solutions are created equal. Safety nets, for instance, can actually be quite painful and can even snap, rendering them non-effective.
That’s why we invented the i2k AirPad. It’s the best fall arrest product on the market, offering protection, comfort, cost-effectiveness, and easy set-up. It’s highly recommended to use some form of fall arrest system in addition to any other fall protection already in place, especially in situations with a leading edge.
Administrative controls actually doesn’t involve fall protection equipment. Instead, administrative controls involve guidelines, procedures, and oversight. For instance, a warning stripe near an edge or an observer tasked with calling out warnings.
This is a no brainer fall protection solution. Every job site needs safety procedures. Oftentimes, safety regulations mandate them.
That said, it still leaves a sliver of chance to human error. That’s just not a chance anyone, worker or owner, should ever take with fall protection.