Fall Prevention vs. Fall Protection


Fall prevention and fall protection may sound alike but they are completely different.

Fall Prevention is a set of procedures and/or practices that, when put in place, will prevent a worker and/or person(s) from the hazards and dangers of a fall.

Fall Protection is a device that is usually worn by a worker that will protect and/or limit the severity of an injury should that person be involved in a situation that results in a fall.

As of January 1, 1998, the use of a body belt in the construction industry as a form of personal fall arrest system is not acceptable. Body belts are only accepted as a form of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) if the free fall potential is less than 2 feet (24 inches) (0.61 meters). OSHA 1926.502 (d) (e).  

Under OSHA 1910.67 (General Industry) and OSHA 1926.453 (Construction) the law requires that, on extensible and articulating booms, a body harness must be worn and the lanyard attached to an approved anchorage point (capable of supporting at least twice the potential impact load of an employee fall, or 5,000 pounds, whichever is greater) (OSHA 1926.502 M (d) (15). Interpretation of OSHA 1926.453 extensible and articulating booms is whether or not the entire boom mounted platform can be positioned outside of the wheelbase of machine. If so, a body harness is required anytime while operating the machine. This is for machines that are in the categories covered by A92.2 and A92.5.

Scissor lifts (A92.6) do not require the use of a body harness. However, if the jobsite rules require the use of a harness, then all jobsite safety procedures should be followed and complied with.

The guardrails usually provide the fall protection on mobile elevating work platforms. Federal OSHA and ANSI A92 regulations require that the guardrail top height is 42 inches plus or minus 3 inches with a mid-rail. Body harnesses on boom lifts provide a form of projection protection as the potential for being projected out of the basket exists on boom lifts.

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that all employees operating mobile elevating work platforms are trained, qualified, and authorized to operate the lift and are properly equipped with the appropriate PPE in accordance with all applicable OSHA regulations, ANSI standards, and employer policies and procedures.

As with all PPE, these items are not meant to be shared. This includes body harnesses. If a harness has been used in preventing a fall, both the harness and the lanyard must be re-certified.

C-Tech can supply with most any Personal Protection Equipment that you may need. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is available to help you select the safety products for your boom or scissor lift via our toll-free helpline 1-888-755-7311, fax, email, or chat or shop for our complete line of safety products today!