Fall Hazards are the NUMBER 1 cause for fatalities and injuries in construction throughout the country. They are also the most frequently cited OSHA violation. Why do we consistently see these statistics, year after year? The overall safety culture within a company is a culmination of individual beliefs and if not positive, can be an obstruction to fall protection efforts. A key component in conveying the importance of fall protection efforts is to prepare and review a PRE-MOBILIZATION safety analysis and ongoing safety plan.

Below you will find information to help you adjust and/or analyze the state of your Fall Protection and Preparedness Safety Program.

Falls remain the leading cause of work-related deaths in construction, accounting for more than one in three (36.4%) of the total number of fatalities in this industry (401 of the 991 construction fatalities recorded in 2019 were falls to a lower level).” - CDC

Does the current fall prevention program best meet the needs of the daily scope?

Fall Protection Programs should define all areas of work in an organization, including: Definitions, Responsibilities, Procedures, Fall Protection Systems & Applications, Storage & Inspection, Fall Rescue Plan (Incident Investigation), and Training.

The Program should also Identify Fall Hazards throughout worksites and create a template for employees within Site-Specific Safety Plan (SSSP). The SSSP will identify specific areas within the worksite/project AND specify required personal fall arrest/restraint systems (PFAS/PFRS). All employees shall review and understand site requirements. Signing of the SSSP (or JHA/THA/AHA, etc.) is crucial and necessary prior to any work conducted.

Are workers (exposed individuals) trained and evaluated?

Proper Annual Training shall be conducted to ensure all employees and company-competent persons are knowledgeable, experienced, and properly trained to perform work functions from elevated heights (i.e. - ≥ 6 ft.).

This training should include:

-Introduction to Fall Protections
-Physics of a Fall
-Methods of Fall Protection
-Fall Hazard/PPE Assessments

What resources will be used to train, evaluate, and ensure compliance is maintained?

An organization should use resources from both within and outside the workplace.

Within the Workplace
  • Employer or supervisor, co-workers, and union representatives

  • Employee orientation manuals or other training materials

  • Manufacturer manuals, labels, and warning signs

  • Work tasks and procedures instruction

Outside the Workplace
  • OSHA website and OSHA offices:


  • Compliance Assistance Specialists in the area offices

  • The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

  • OSHA Training Institute Education Centers


How can you know that this program works and will achieve the desired results?

An organization can review the efficacy of programs and results by implementing related processes. Annual review of the Fall Protection & Preparedness Program should account for Existing Fall Hazards, Employee Hazard Recognition and Abatement, and New Scope and Work (including Fall Hazards). Company involvement, especially that of management, will show the organization the importance of the program. Communication of the program to the employees that clearly explains the responsibilities of the employee allows the organization to have “eyes” across the organization. Finally, Discipline. Having a set Disciplinary Action Plan for violating any company, site, or federal/state/local standards will reiterate the importance of the program.

Companies want their employees safe at the end of each workday. With the information presented above, a complete and compliant Fall Protection & Preparedness Program should naturally come to fruition. Communication is essential during this process; Availability of training sessions, site-walks, audits, and daily interactions will assist in the progression and success of an organization’s program.

Sources: Construction Statistics | NIOSH | CDC