Fall Protection Training Requirements, Construction – Regulation 29 CFR 1926.503
A Workplace Story
From a Massachusetts FACE Occupational Fatality Report:
Three hours into his shift on a cold January day in Massachusetts, a laborer/carpenter lost his balance and fell 24 feet from an exterior second story wall to the frozen ground below. EMS and local police and state police arrived within minutes. The victim was med-flighted to a regional trauma center and died the next day in the intensive care unit. He was 22 years old.
An investigation by Massachusetts’ FACE program found the employer – a residential contractor who’d been in business for about a year – did provide fall protection to workers in the form of personal fall arrest systems (PFAS). The employer asked employees to use the PFAS, but did not enforce the use of fall protection. At the time of the incident, the company did not have a safety and health program or a safety and did not provide safety and health training or hold tool box talks with employees.
Enforcement from October 2019 through September 2020
Total citations: 1,415
Total inspections: 1,376
Total proposed penalties: $2,244,088
Industries most often violating fall protection training requirements in construction standard:
Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services: $13,750
Wholesale Trade: $9,784
Manufacturing (part 3 of 3): $4,742
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing: $1,278
Retail Trade (part 2 of 2): $6,293
Retail Trade (part 1 of 2): $9,445
Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction: $0
Preventing falls can mean the difference between life and death. Hundreds of workers die from falls each year. A fall can occur in a split second without any time for the worker to react. You can prevent such deaths by planning to get the job done safely, providing the right fall protection equipment and training all workers to use the equipment safely. Having a serious injury or death occur at work affects everyone at a worksite.
Short and direct Toolbox Talks can be a very efficient way to reach workers with health and safety information. Like all training, delivering the information effectively takes preparation and a desire to involve the workers in health and safety at the workplace. Employers may train workers to lead the training or have supervisors provide the training. Studies have shown peer-to-peer training is effective, participatory and well-retained.
Safety meetings work best if the whole crew actively participates. This makes it more interesting and more likely that people will remember the information you’ve given them. Here are some ways to encourage everyone to get involved:
- Ask questions instead of simply giving them the information. After you ask a question, wait a short time to let people think. Then, call on volunteers to answer.
- Ask about personal experience. This can help the group see how the topic is relevant to them. You could ask: Has anyone here fallen off a ladder? What happened?
- Make sure everyone has a chance to talk. If a crew member is talking too much, invite someone else to speak.
- Never make fun of anyone or put anyone down, especially for asking questions.
- The employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.
- The employer shall assure that each employee has been trained, as necessary, by a competent person qualified in the following areas:
- The correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, disassembling and inspecting the fall protection systems to be used;
- The use and operation of guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, safety net systems, warning line systems, safety monitoring systems, controlled access zones and other protection to be used;
- The role of each employee in the safety monitoring system when this system is used;
- The limitations on the use of mechanical equipment during the performance of roofing work on low-sloped roofs;
- The correct procedures for the handling and storage of equipment and materials and the erection of overhead protection; and
- The role of employees in fall protection plans;
- The employer shall prepare a written certification record. The written certification record shall contain the name or other identity of the employee trained, the date(s) of the training, and the signature of the person who conducted the training or the signature of the employer. If the employer relies on training conducted by another employer or completed prior to the effective date of this section, the certification record shall indicate the date the employer determined the prior training was adequate rather than the date of actual training.
- When the employer has reason to believe that any affected employee who has already been trained does not have the understanding and skill required by paragraph (a) of this section, the employer shall retrain each such employee. Circumstances where retraining is required include, but are not limited to, situations where:
- Changes in the workplace render previous training obsolete; or
- Changes in the types of fall protection systems or equipment to be used render previous training
- Inadequacies in an affected employee’s knowledge or use of fall protection systems or equipment indicate that the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill. WMHS
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