The hierarchy of fall protection is the preferred order of control for reducing or eliminating fall hazards. This method follows standard safety procedures for reducing hazards, starting with the elimination of hazards and ending with administrative controls. Each solution in the hierarchy can be applied to each hazard by utilizing the information gathered from the fall hazard assessments.
Hierarchy Of Fall Protection
Hierarchy Of Fall Protection is also referred to as the ranked or graded series of fall protection options ranging from the most effective to the least effective. These options, from best to worst, are as follows: Administrative controls, passive fall protection, fall arrest, restraint, and elimination of hazards
- Elimination of Hazards: The elimination of all fall hazards is the preferred approach. In order to determine whether a modification to the procedure, practice, location, or equipment will eliminate exposure to the fall hazard, the reason for exposure is challenged and evaluated. An example of hazard elimination is requiring HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment to be positioned on the ground or in an equipment room rather than near the roof edge.
Before purchasing inappropriate systems or equipment, the hierarchy should be applied to every hazard. When a fall hazard is evaluated using the hierarchy, the best solution is frequently readily available.
- Passive Fall Protection: Examples of passive fall protection include physical barriers like covers over holes and guardrails around edges that are not protected.
Since there is less room for error with passive protection than with personal protective equipment (PPE), it is generally believed that this method provides a higher level of safety. Although the initial costs of passive protection may be high, they frequently outweigh the long-term costs of PPE. However, if exposure to the fall hazard is limited in frequency and duration, passive protection may not be necessary.
The information required to make these kinds of decisions in a way that is most cost-effective is provided by a comprehensive risk assessment.
- Fall Restraint Systems: Fall restraint systems are installed in a way that prevents a person from falling. Using personal protective equipment (PPE), fall restraint systems prevent workers from physically going to the fall hazard.
Although fall restraint systems are preferred over fall arrest systems, they are frequently underutilized because they are not specifically mentioned in many regulations.
Fall arrest is always preferable to fall restraint. Since the worker is still accessible, fall restraint systems make it simple to rescue them and prevent most secondary falls-related injuries.
- Systems for Fall Arrest: These are erected in such a way that a fall can occur, but the fall is stopped by a force and clearance margin that is acceptable.
Because we must stop the worker from falling with a force that is safe and prevent him or her from coming into contact with the surrounding structure or the ground, fall arrest systems carry a higher risk.
It is essential to receive training for both fall arrest and restraint systems.
- Administrative controls: Work practices or procedures that raise a worker’s awareness of a fall hazard are known as administrative controls. It should be noticed that managerial controls are the most un-favored technique for security since they do not give a physical or positive method for insurance.
Administrative controls are steps taken to cut down on the chance of falling. Safety monitors, warning lines, warning horns, designated areas, and control lines are some of these methods. The fall protection program administrator is obligated to understand the applicable jurisdictions and regulations due to OSHA’s regulation of the use of numerous administrative controls.
Control measure – Control hierarchy
Knowledge of the hierarchy of control for working at height is the basis for this control measure which is based on information provided by the Health and Safety Executive.
Any work at height must be properly planned, supervised, and risk assessed by competent individuals with the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience. When working at height, employees must use the right tools.
The avoid, prevent, minimize hierarchy should be utilized prior to any work if there is a risk of falling that could cause injury.
The five steps of fall prevention
The hierarchy includes steps to identify, address, and avoid hazards as well as respond to any potential incidents. It was designed to reduce the risk of accidents, injuries, or death. In order to meet OHS standards and ensure that employees are protected when working at heights, it is essential to understand and follow this procedure.
- Identify the risks: When working at heights, there are a lot of potential dangers, especially the danger of falling from an elevated surface. Every occupation can present various dangers for representatives.
Managers and laborers should each guarantee they understand the specific dangers that could influence their site. Construction workers might have to use scaffolding to get to the sides of buildings or work on roofs with slopes.
Different circumstances that can present interesting working at levels perils includes linesmen being presented to electrical risks, painters using stepping stools while conveying weighty paint containers or cargo drivers getting across free loads on truck trailers.
Most situations involving working at heights are outside which presents additional risks. Access to comprehensive working at heights training is essential to ensure that individuals can accurately assess their own OHS requirements because there are a lot of potential risks in many industries.
- Avoid the risk: Once the risks have been identified, the first step in reducing the likelihood of accidents and injuries is to not do any work in those conditions.
While avoiding working at heights is not always possible, this is the most straightforward and efficient way to protect OHS on your worksite. For instance, many tasks in the construction industry necessitate working above ground, on roofs or scaffolding, for business.
Work should be designed so that no one has to work at heights as much as possible. It is recommended that this policy be followed from manufacturing to onsite work.
By designing equipment so that it can be maneuvered into a new position when repairs or maintenance are required, manufacturers can reduce the need to work at heights. This policy’s various models include machinery that can be turned on its side to make it easier to get to the top and long-handled paint rollers that let painters work without having to climb a ladder.
READ: ABC Of Fall Protection
There are still options available to completely eliminate the risks that employees face when working at heights is necessary for business endeavors.
For example, in bad weather, construction workers and other workers in the outdoors should not work at heights. People working outside face increased dangers when the wind or rain pick up such as falling on wet roof tiles or being blown off balance by a gust of wind.
- Control the risk: Certain risk control measures should be implemented at all times when workers are working at heights. This could be as simple as warning signs or as complex as fall arrest systems.
Guard rails might be the best fall prevention measure, depending on the situation and the environment.
Using elevated platforms instead of ladders such as scissor lifts, safety mesh strewn throughout internal roofs, and work boxes designed to be suspended by cranes and forklifts, are all examples of fall prevention strategies.
Employees must be given access to all necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) in addition to these potential safety measures. Employees are able to work at heights with the assurance that, if they slipped or fell, they would be caught before they reached the ground thanks to individual rope systems and fall-arrest devices like lanyards, anchorage lines, and harnesses.
However, it is essential that these systems be properly set up and maintained because if they are not, a person may reach the ground before they reach the end of their rope. Any working at heights training you or your employees have access to should include the ability to select, maintain, and use these devices.
- Respond to incidents: It is essential to ensure that you can safely implement an emergency response plan if there is an accident or emergency while working above ground. This would merely consist of knowing who to contact in the event of an incident for most employees. However, some training in first aid and rescue may be required for more urgent situations.
People who are responding to an emergency need to have skills like choosing rescue equipment, giving first aid at heights, and figuring out if a platform or system is potentially broken. It is likely that the environment is hazardous and that response teams face additional risks if an employee has been hurt or involved in an accident.
- Maintain risk prevention: If your industry or occupation regularly requires work at heights, it is essential to ensure that your OHS practices are upheld throughout the entire business project.
As a result, hazards associated with working at heights should be evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that changing conditions or equipment wear and tear do not increase risk and result in accidents. In particular, hazards should be regularly assessed for in all environments, platforms, machinery, and equipment. It is imperative that any potential threats be addressed as soon as possible.
In addition, employers should make it a point to regularly update and refresh their employees’ training. By providing workers with the most recent skills and knowledge and increasing their existing qualifications, this will enhance OHS outcomes.