Fall Protection

Trends in ... fall protection

‘Proper safety begins before the job even starts’

Regularly topping the list of OSHA’s most cited standards is Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501).

Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement, tells Safety+Health the standard continues to rack up violations because “the hazard is present in most workplaces.” 

Why? What are workers and employers not understanding about using fall protection in the workplace?

S+H asked two experts to weigh in. Here’s their advice.

Omar Vikin, general manager of high-risk personal protective equipment for Charlotte, NC-based Honeywell: The key thing workers and employers alike should understand is that proper safety begins before the job even starts. We encourage employers to invest time and resources in proper safety education and training, and to consistently urge their workers to ask themselves throughout their shifts, “Am I protected?” In doing so, it helps ensure workers can accurately identify workplace hazards, take action to mitigate against those hazards and use the right personal protective equipment when working at height. 


Kevin Kelpe, corporate director of marketing and communications at Diversified Fall Protection in Westlake, OH: When considering common fall hazards in a rooftop environment, most workers – and even safety professionals – would imagine the roof edge to be the greatest danger. But when we consider that everyone who accesses the rooftop uses the roof hatch, it’s clear that, statistically, this is the most likely place for an incident to occur. This could be because the worker is unable to maintain appropriate contact on the ladder while opening the hatch, or because they struggle to get out of the hatch and onto the roof, losing their footing. Indeed, building owners and safety pros are finding this to be true. Expect to see safety hatches included in capital expenditure budgets in the coming years.

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Heat protection

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