Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry


November 19, 2012

demonstraiting fall protection methods

Training and supervision

Workers who could be exposed to fall hazards must be able to identify the hazards and know procedures that prevent or control them.

Training and your workplace safety program

A key indicator of an effective safety program is the level of knowledge that employees have about site-specific hazards. This requires training in hazard recognition based on an employee's work environment and site-specific hazards.

When to train

Employees must be trained before they begin tasks that could expose them to fall hazards or before they use fall-protection systems. They must be retrained when they don't recognize fall hazards, when they don't follow safe practices for using fall-protection systems, and when changes in the workplace or in the fall-protection systems used make their previous training obsolete.

Who can do the training?

As an employer, you can determine how to train your employees. What's important is that, through training, your employees can recognize fall hazards and know how to minimize the hazards.

The trainer must be a competent person. A competent person is one who can identify work-site hazards and who has management authority to control them. The trainer must know and be able to explain the following:

  • The nature of fall hazards at the work site
  • Procedures for erecting, maintaining, and disassembling fall-protection systems
  • How to use and operate fall-protection systems
  • The role of each employee who may be affected by a safety-monitoring system
  • The restrictions that apply to mechanical equipment used during roofing work
  • The procedure for handling and storing materials and for erecting protection from falling objects
  • Oregon OSHA's Division 3, Subdivision M, fall-protection requirements

Is it necessary to document training?

You must document in writing that employees have been trained and that they know what fall-protection systems or methods to use, how to use them, and when to use them regardless of their experience. Include their names, training dates, and the trainer's signature.

Keep a record of each employee's fall-protection training. Include the employee's name, the training date, and the trainer's name. Record the information on a simple form or spreadsheet that includes that information.

Tasks for supervisors

  • Verify that employees have been trained and can perform their work safely.
  • Review periodically the safety performance of each employee.
  • Instruct, retrain, or discipline employees who work unsafely.
  • Supervise closely new employees after they have been trained.
  • Require employees to demonstrate they can work safely before permitting them to work independently.

What does "certified" mean?

For some folks, being certified simply means, "I've got a card and that card says I'm certified." But that doesn't necessarily mean the person has been tested and found proficient at a particular task.

For Oregon OSHA, "certified" means the employer verified that the employee knows what he or she is doing when operating equipment; the certification is a document that includes the trainer's name, the trainee's name, and the training date. Verification by the employer ensures that the employee received training on the specific topic or equipment, was tested, has sufficient practical experience, and can use or operate the equipment safely.


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