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OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926.503: Fall Protection Training

Ranking: #7

The Risk

Workers performing tasks 6 feet or more above lower levels are at risk of fatal falls or serious injuries. In the construction industry alone, falls generally account for about a third of the deaths that occur on the job each year. Equipping employees with the type of fall protection appropriate to the tasks they perform and the environment in which they work is vital. So is regularly assessing the fall protection devices used, to confirm that it is in good shape. However, safeguarding workers from falls and the serious injuries they can cause requires a broader approach – one that includes training about hazard recognition and procedures for erecting and maintaining fall protection.

Major Provisions of the Standard

  • 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 nature of fall hazards in the work area;
  • 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 verify compliance with paragraph (a) of this section by preparing 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.
  • The latest training certification shall be maintained.
  • “Retraining.” 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 obsolete; or
  • 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.

Compliance Resources

OSHA has a publication entitled, Fall Prevention Training Guide: A Lesson Plan for Employers. This training guide will help you plan how to prevent injuries and fatalities from falls among your crew and provide training to your workers. It includes advice for trainers, a series of Toolbox Talks, instructions for how to use the Toolbox Talks to train workers in fall prevention and details about various fall prevention topics. There are also educational materials that include a fall prevention fact sheet and wallet card in both English and Spanish, prevention videos and a fall prevention poster. The training is designed to be short, participatory, and easy to follow. Access it at: https://tinyurl.com/yej7n47t WMHS

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