Facilities worker falling down

Fall Protection Training: A Manager’s Guide

Being well-versed in the appropriate OSHA standards also can help bolster fall protection and prevention programs.

By Frank Rigas, Contributing Writer  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Fall Protection Violations Dominate OSHA Top 10Pt. 2: This Page

In 2017, violations related to fall protection training requirements first appeared on the OSHA top 10 list, and they have remained on it since. Training was the eighth-most cited violation in 2023.  

To help managers establish and improve training programs, Fairfax says managers should do the training themselves and make sure the workers understand that they are expected to follow the training. If the workers do not have the equipment they need, they should speak up. 

Segura says managers should make their front-line technicians integral parts of training programs.  

“People like to know why,” she says. “Instead of telling the associates, ‘You have to do X, Y, Z,’ explain the why and the reasons behind it. Also, ask for associate feedback on what is or is not working in the program. If employees feel empowered, they are more likely to follow the rules.” 

Being well-versed in the appropriate OSHA standards also can help bolster fall protection and prevention programs. Fairfax says the key standard for general industry is the OSHA Walking-Working Surface Standard, 1910 Subpart D.  

Segura says taking a preemptive approach can help managers create a safer workplace.  

“Moving from a reactive to proactive mindset helps build a culture that focuses on the positive – protecting ourselves and one another so that we can go home and enjoy our personal time – versus only responding when there is a negative outcome,” she says.  

The new OSHA top 10 safety violations list will be introduced at the 2024 NSC Safety Congress & Expo in September in Orlando. If history is any indication, the list will look familiar. 

“The top 10 doesn’t change much from year to year,” Fairfax says. “There is some movement … but they’re basically the same problems.” 

Still, the release of the list is an annual reminder that not enough managers and front-line workers err on the side of caution in performing their daily tasks, and that there is much work to be done on preventing workplace falls and improving worker safety.  

“I tell employers a lot that safety is not just for their protection and the workers’ protection, but, it’s also, if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, you’re not going to have the accidents, you’re not going to have to hire new people and you’re not going to have to deal with worker’s compensation,” Fairfax says. “It’s going to save you money in the long run. Some employers get it, but a lot of them don’t get that.”  

OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Standards of 2023  

  • Standard (Standard Number) – Violations 
  • Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501) – 7,188 
  • Hazard Communication (1910.1200) – 3,227 
  • Ladders (1926.1053) – 2,950 
  • Scaffolding (1926.451) – 2,835 
  • Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) – 2,550 
  • Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) – 2,539 
  • Respiratory Protection (1910.134) – 2,493 
  • Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503) – 2,109 
  • Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102) – 2,064 
  • Machine Guarding (1910.212) – 1,635 

Frank Rigas is a freelance writer based in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. 

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  posted on 6/19/2024   Article Use Policy

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