Reducing Fall Hazard Risk: Provide Effective Fall Protection Training

For this year’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, I’m sharing these top five ways to reduce fall hazard risk, based on a quarter century of experience providing fall protection consultation. The first four ways are listed below and can be found here:

  • Apply Prevention through Design
  • Perform Fall Hazard Risk Assessments—the Right Way
  • Use Less Personal Protective Equipment
  • Focus on Certified Systems, Not Just Equipment

The fifth: Provide Effective Fall Protection Training.

Only well-informed individuals can make the right decisions about fall protection. That’s why it’s critical to ensure proper training for the people who supervise and use fall protection systems.

The goal of fall protection training is to change behavior. So, training needs to include more than just instruction on regulations and equipment use. Participants need to gain the skills and tools to recognize and resolve fall protection issues before they arise. Then they won’t be forced to rely on less-effective, reactive approaches in the field.

Since adult learners have a variety of learning preferences, it’s important to use a variety of teaching methods. Combining lecture, multimedia and hands-on exercises increases ownership, understanding and retention of critical material.

Regardless of the training approach, it must be customized to the workers, their unique environments and responsibilities. Participants grasp training content best when it’s customized to the fall hazards they confront daily.

Of course, employees have different responsibilities related to fall protection, so what may apply to one doesn’t apply to another. So, consider providing various levels of fall protection training, depending on your organization’s makeup. The ANSI/ASSP Z359.2 standard outlines the following levels of training, including required training content for each type of training:

  • Awareness (staff and leadership)
  • Authorized Person (users)
  • Competent Person (supervisors and managers)
  • Qualified Person (designers)
  • Refresher Training

Regular, ongoing training also supports the other major elements of a fall protection program and increases the effectiveness of each step.

Questions about fall protection training? Comment below or learn about the fall protection training LJB offers.

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