Fall Protection Training Guide

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Labor Occupational Health Program

Summary Statement

A guide on fall protection training including questions to ask, subjects to cover 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 American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has adapted these talks to apply to federal OSHA regulations. TO contact ACGIH, visit its website (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 the 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 this: “Tying off is dangerous, because you can’t move out from under an incoming load.”

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction. Fall protection may have its problems,
but think 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 fall protection.


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. What are the two basic types of fall protection?

  • Fall restraint systems, like guardrails. These keep you from falling.
  • Fall arrest systems, like safety nets. These break your fall.
  • Never use any type of fall protection unless you have been trained.
2. If there are no guardrails, when and where should you tie off with a harness and lines?
  • Cal/OSHA’s main rule is that you should tie off when the drop is 7½ feet or more.
  • There are exceptions to the 7½ foot rule for some trades, like roofers and ironworkers.
3. When and where should safety nets be used?
  • Safety nets should be used if it is not practical to tie off.
  • Safety nets should be placed no more than 30 feet below the work area.
  • Nets should extend from 8 to 13 feet beyond the structure you’re working on.
  • No work can proceed unless the net is in place.

4. If you use fall protection equipment, what do you need to check?

  • Be sure all equipment is safety-approved. Look for a label showing that it meets American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety requirements.
  • Be sure the equipment is installed and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Be sure everything is in good condition. Remove from service any lanyard or drop line that has broken someone’s fall, or is frayed or worn.
  • Be sure you have the right equipment for the job. For example, safety belts are not allowed in fall arrest systems.
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 5000 lbs.
  • Drop lines should be made of synthetic fibers (except near heat or flame).
  • If a drop line is subject to fraying or rock damage, it must have a wire rope center.
7. What if it’s not practical to tie off or use a safety net?
  • If the usual fall protection measures are impractical or create a greater hazard than they prevent, Cal/OSHA allows an employer to develop a fall protection plan.
  • The plan allows work to be done in a designated area without the normal fall protection. Alternate measures must be used to reduce fall hazards in that area. These include special training for workers, and constant observation of the work by a safety monitor.
  • The plan must be drawn up by a qualified person, and a copy of the plan must be available on the site.
  • The areas without fall protection are called “controlled access zones.” Only certain trained workers can enter these areas.
8. What are some of the requirements for controlled access zones?
  • There should be a barrier (ropes, wires, or caution tape) to restrict access to the zone.
  • Warning signs should be posted around the zone.
  • In many cases, there must be a designated safety monitor for the zone, who is in
    communication with anyone working in the zone at all times.

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 fall
protection. 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 fall protection.

 Discuss company rules:___________________________________________


Ask: Do you have any other concerns about fall protection? 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 fall protection
that might help us work safer on this job?

Sign Off Form
Fall Protection

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