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Reducing Risk – Site Specific Fall Protection Plans

- June 13, 2019 by Rick Fineman, CSP, ARM (View all posts by Rick)

Preventing falls takes more than providing equipment and giving work orders. A proper site evaluation and assessment is crucial.  By using a Site Specific Fall Prevention Plan, companies are able to systematically review and access each situation. Washington State Industrial Safety Administration (WISHA) has a well-known version of this plan. This plan identifies fall exposures as hazards (e.g. working above 6 feet or near skylight openings). It continues by identifying location and appropriate fall protection methods.

This approach has been used to some degree since the fall protection standard adopted in 2005. Within industry and smaller jobs, the frequency of formal assessments using Site Specific Fall Prevention Plans was much lower. Formal assessments identify the hazard and their fall protection controls but does not focus on (1) specific tasks/actions that workers perform that create exposures, (2) the number of times individuals are exposed to those hazards, or (3) methods to reduce the number of times the hazardous tasks need to be performed.

A method of quantifying the risk exposure can help prioritize controls. One method to quantifying the fall exposures is to simply identify the number of people exposed to a specific hazard and use that for simple weighting. ICW has taken the Site Specific Fall Prevention Plan and added columns to identify the tasks and the number of workers exposed to each hazard.

Taking frequency of exposure into considering brings a new dimension to controlling hazards.  For a copy of the Site Specific Fall Prevention Plan with frequency consideration, please click here.

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