Addressing Unexpected Fall Protection Needs

portable_guardrailIdeally, your organization has an effective managed fall protection program to address the fall risk for your workers at heights.  But, what do you do when an unforeseen fall protection need arises?  Do the right people know what to do when work requires an unexpected need to perform a task at heights?  Unfortunately, most organizations simply react and create a less-than-ideal “band-aid” solution.

At ASSE’s Safety 2013 event, I presented on ways to proactively plan for unexpected fall protection needs.  While equipment-based options are often selected for addressing these needs, it’s important to note that simply giving people fall protection equipment is not enough to protect them from fall hazards.

Just as I did during that presentation, I recommend that you do the following tasks to avoid simply reacting in the moment when work at height needs to be done.

  • Identify potential scenarios that may require unexpected fall protection solutions
  • Analyze your organization’s capability to address unpredicted fall protection needs (personnel, training, equipment)
  • Develop a plan for addressing this issue at your facility now…and for something six months from now

When you develop feasible options for addressing unexpected needs, they can be addressed safely and efficiently.  When lives are at stake, don’t rely on last-minute solutions—work now to make sure you’re ready when an unforeseen fall protection need arises.

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