Scaffold General Requirements – 1926.451(g)Fall Protection

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Fall protection is the use of controls designed to protect personnel from falling or in the event they do fall, to stop them without causing severe injury. Typically, fall protection is implemented when working at height, but may be relevant when working near any edge, such as near a pit or hole, or performing work on a steep surface.

Employers must provide fall protection for each employee on a scaffold more than 10 feet (3.1 m) above a lower level.

A competent person must determine the feasibility and safety of providing fall protection for employees erecting or dismantling supported scaffolds. 

There are a number of ways employers can protect workers from falls, including through the use of conventional means such as guardrail systems, safety net systems and personal fall protection systems, the adoption of safe work practices, and the provision of appropriate training. The use of warning lines, designated areas, control zones and similar systems are permitted by OSHA in some situations and can provide protection by limiting the number of workers exposed. Whether conducting a hazard assessment or developing a comprehensive fall protection plan, thinking about fall hazards before the work begins will help the employer to manage fall hazards and focus attention on prevention efforts. If personal fall protection systems are used, particular attention should be given to identifying attachment points and to ensuring that employees know how to properly use and inspect the equipment.

Fall-arrest and guardrail systems must be used when working on single- and two-point adjustable suspension scaffolds and self-contained adjustable scaffolds that are supported by ropes.

A personal fall-arrest system is a system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a working level. Personal fall-arrest systems include harnesses, components of the harness/belt such as D-rings, and snap hooks, lifelines, and anchorage points.

Personal fall arrest systems can be used on scaffolding when there are no guardrail systems.

Use fall-arrest systems when working from the following types of scaffolding: boatswain’s chair, catenary, float, needle beam, ladder, and pump jack.

Use fall-arrest systems also when working from the boom/basket of an aerial lift. 

Body belts are not acceptable as part of a personal fall arrest system. The use of a body belt in a tethering system or in a restraint system is acceptable

Vertical or horizontal lifelines may be used.

When working from an aerial lift, attach the fall-arrest system to the boom or basket.