Fall Protection Loss Lesson

Fall Protection Loss Lesson
Posted on in Falls, Featured, Safety Managers

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Consider this fall scenario:
A volunteer works on a roof that has a Hugs Guardrail system in place. While leaning between the top and mid rails, the volunteer attempts to hand a hammer to another worker who is standing on the ground below. The midrail shifts and causes the volunteer to lose his balance and fall to the ground. Luckily, the volunteer walks away from the fall with only minor bruises.

This fall could have been prevented. There are a number of vital ways to effectively reduce falls from heights, and include:

  1. Fall protection equipment. Fall protection equipment—including safety belts, harnesses, lanyards and lifelines—must be installed and used properly in order to be effective.
  2. Volunteer training. You key personnel and volunteers should receive adequate training on how to install and use the equipment, according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  3. HUGS System. The Hugs system must be installed according to manufacturer’s direction so that it functions properly to prevent falls, specifically that all lumber guardrails must be secured to the uprights by screws or nails to prevent any shifting.
  4. Weight Load. When force is applied at the top of the HUGS railing system, the overall system must be able to withstand 200 pounds of force in any direction, without failure. Mid rails have a 150 pound force requirement without failure, and toe-boards have a 50 pound force requirement.
  5. Competent Person training. Affiliates should have onsite competent persons to oversee highly-hazardous operations on job sites. These designated individuals should understand OSHA’s rules that apply to each of the areas for which they are responsible. He or she should also have a good understanding of the manufacturer’s requirements of each piece of safety equipment that’s in use on the job site.



Who is a competent person?  By OSHA’s standard, a competent person is someone who is able to quickly and fully answer questions and concerns, according to OSHA standards, in the area(s) that the competent person is responsible for.

Fall protection training: The HFHI U.S. Safety Specialist can help provide competent person training, upon request. Seven competent person training dates have already been scheduled across the country. If you are interested in attending one of these training sessions, or would like to see about setting up separate training, please contact Don Hartle at dhartle@habitat.org for more information.

Don’t forget to take advantage of our free online safety training videos and courses, available on this website.

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