Tying Off & Safety Nets Training Guide

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Labor Occupational Health Program

Summary Statement

A guided discussion through the steps that should be taken when determining whether to tie off or use other fall protection, including a set of questions to use for discussion and a sign-off form. Part of a collection. Click on the 'collection' button to access the other items.

These tailgate/toolbox talks were developed for use under California OSHA regulations. The complete set is available from the Labor Occupational Health Program at UC Berkeley. For ordering information, visit the website (www.lohp.org) The American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has adapted these talks to apply to federal OSHA regulations. To contact ACGIH, visit its web site (www.acgih.org).

Before you begin the meeting...
  • Does this topic relate to the work the crew is doing? If not, choose another topic.
  • Did you read this Training Guide and fill in the blanks where thePencil Icon appears? (To find the information you need, look over the Safety Walkaround Checklist for this topic.)

Begin: How many times have you heard people make excuses for not tying off or using safety nets? Maybe you've heard comments like these:

  • "Tying off is dangerous, because you can't move out from under an incoming load."


  • "Nets are too expensive, and they're dangerous to install."

Tying off and nets may have their problems, but think for a minute of the alternative -- a fall without protection. It's not a risk worth taking.

You or a crew member may want to add a personal story about tying off or safety nets.


After each question, give the crew time to suggest possible answers. Use the information following each question to add points that no one mentions.

1. When and where should you tie off?

  • It depends on the kind of work being done and the kind of surface. Cal/OSHA says that if there are no guardrails, you should tie off:

    • When working on any structure at a height over 7 1/2 feet, if you might fall:
      • from the perimeter
      • through elevator shafts, other shaftways, or openings
      • from steep sloped surfaces.
    • When working from thrustouts, trusses, beams, purlins, and plates at a height over 15 feet.
    • When working on skeleton steel of a multistory structure at a height over 15 feet.
    • When working on a steep roof (1/3 pitch or steeper) while using pneumatic tools.
    • When working from a boatswain chair, floating scaffold, needle-beam scaffold or suspended scaffold.

      On this job, you'll have to tie off --

Pencil Icon

Point out locations:_________________________________


2. If it's not possible to tie off, what should you do?

  • If tying off isn't practical for some reason, we must use safety nets instead.
On this job, we'll be using nets --

Pencil Icon

Point out locations:_________________________________


  • Safety nets should be placed no more than 25 feet below the work area.
  • Nets should extend at least 8 feet beyond the building or structure you're working on.
  • No work can proceed unless the necessary fall protection is in place.

3. What if it's actually more dangerous to put up a net than to do the job without it?

  • That can happen. If a job is short and installation of a net would be more hazardous than the work, you can go without the net. However, Cal/OSHA says you must work under immediate and competent supervision.
Pencil Icon Supervision will be the responsibility of: ___________________

4. If you use fall protection equipment like a safety belt, harness, or lanyard, what do you need to check?

  • Make sure you're using the right equipment for the job. For example, keep in mind that harnesses give better protection than safety belts.
  • Be sure your equipment is safety-approved. Look for a label showing that it meets American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety requirements.
  • Use the equipment according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Be sure everything is in good condition. Don't use the equipment if it isn't. For example, make sure that latches on belts are working properly, and that drop lines are not frayed or worn.
  • Remove from service any safety belt, lanyard, or drop line that has been subjected to a load in actual use (in other words, if it has broken someone's fall).

5. Where should you place the anchor end of a lanyard?

  • Anchor it at a level no lower than your waist. That way, you limit any fall to a maximum of four feet.
  • Anchor it to a substantial structural member, or to a securely rigged catenary or pendant line.
  • Don't anchor it to a pipe

. 6. What are some of the requirements for a drop line?

  • A drop line (and its anchorage) must be able to support at least 5400 lbs.
  • If a drop line is subject to fraying or rock damage, it must have a wire rope center


Explain: Most of the safety measures we've talked about are required by Cal/OSHA. We have to take these precautions—it's the law. I have a Checklist of the Cal/OSHA regulations on tying off and safety nets. If you'd like to know more, see me after the meeting.


(Only if applicable.) Besides the Cal/OSHA regulations, we have some additional company rules about tying off and safety nets.

Pencil Icon

Discuss company rules: ______________________________



Ask: Do you have any other concerns about tying off or safety nets? Do you see any problems on our job? (Let the steward answer first, if there is one.)

What about other jobs you've worked on? Have you had any experience with tying off or safety nets that might help us work safer on this job?


This is a time to discuss all safety concerns, not just today's topic. Keep your notes on this page before, during and after the safety meeting.

Are you aware of any hazards from other crews? Point out any hazards other crews are creating that this crew should know about. Tell the crew what you intend to do about those hazards.





Do we have any old business? Discuss past issues/problems. Report progress of investigations and action taken.




Any new business? Any accidents/near misses/complaints? Discuss accidents, near misses, and complaints that have happened since the last safety meting. Also recognize the safety contributions made by members of the crew.





Please remember, we want to hear from you about any health and safety issues that come up. If we don't know about problems, we can't take action to fix them.

To complete the training session:

  • Circulate Sign-Off Form.
  • Assign one or more crew member(s) to help with next safety meeting.
  • Refer action items for follow-up. (Use the sample Hazard Report Form in the Reference Section of this binder, or your company’s own form.)

Sign Off Form

Date Prepared:_________________________ By:____________________
Project Name/No.______________________ Location:_______________
Printed Name