Planning is the first, and perhaps the most important, step in protecting workers from falls.
Before you begin a project, think about hazards your employees will encounter and what you can do to keep them safe. You're more likely to use fall-protection methods that enhance the work rather than interfere with it when you identify fall hazards during the planning stage.
With adequate planning and the right equipment, a physical means of protecting employees from falls is usually possible. A physical means of fall protection will not let a worker fall or will prevent the worker from hitting the ground or a lower level if a fall occurs.
Eliminating fall hazards and preventing falls from happening are the most effective fall-protection strategies. Ways to prevent falls include covering holes in walking/working surfaces and using guardrails, perimeter safety cables, and personal fall-restraint systems at exposed edges.
When it's not possible to eliminate a fall hazard or prevent a fall from occurring, then control it. Control falls with personal fall-arrest systems, positioning-device systems, and safety nets.
If workers use personal fall-arrest or restraint systems, they'll need secure anchorages for their lifelines or lanyards.
Anchorages for personal fall-arrest systems must be able to support at least 5,000 pounds per attached worker or be designed by a qualified person and have a safety factor of at least two - twice the impact force of a worker free-falling a maximum of six feet.
Anchorages for personal fall-restraint systems must be able to support at least 3,000 pounds per attached worker or be designed by a qualified person and have a safety factor of at least two - twice the peak anticipated dynamic load.
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