Do You Have a Site-Specific Fall Protection Plan

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We at Chamberlin take safety very seriously because it affects our people, our clients’ property and their tenants as well as other trade workers. That is why special consideration is given to fall protection by the safety team since it is the leading cause of death and injury in the construction industry. It also happens to be a hazard our field operations teams are exposed to frequently, due to the nature of our work. Because of this, field workers are trained from the get-go. On their first day of work they learn the basics of fall protection during the New Hire Orientation. These workers subsequently receive in-depth fall protection training during the required OSHA 10 hour course. In addition, crews are required to develop and implement site-specific fall protection plans when fall hazards exist. Crews work with the safety team in difficult, unusual, or highly hazardous conditions to assure utmost safety and compliance with OSHA standards. 

Because of the nature of our work, we sometimes need to reach difficult areas that can potentially pose a fall hazard. Whether it is installing fire caulking on a ladder with overhead obstacles or caulking joints on a concrete grid suspended on a 35 story high-rise, both situations pose fall protection hazards that could potentially be lethal so they require special considerations. Before we begin any project, there are a few things to consider when coming up with a comprehensive, site-specific fall protection plan that considers our people, building tenants and our client’s property.  It’s a win – win – win.  

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First, is there an anchorage point to which a worker can attach to catch their fall? An anchor could be either an engineered member tied to the building structure made to support 5,000 pounds of force per person or a structural or non-structural member that can withstand the same. 

How far is the next level down? This will help one determine the appropriate fall protection system to use. For example, if using a shock absorbing lanyard system the next floor down needs to be at least 18 feet or more away. 

How can a worker be rescued if they do fall? A fast response is very important because being suspended from a harness could be life threatening in itself because of its affect on blood circulation. 

Can the different work areas be reached? There are many fall protection systems available that allow for comfortable movement over a large area if required. Our safety team will choose the one that is best for the task. 

If a worker falls can they potentially hit something as they fall? Always consider what will happen when one falls, because an impact to an object or the building structure could be devastating. Keep the ideal minimum swing distance angle at or below 15 degrees from the anchor center.