Tips from OSHA’s Fall Prevention Training Guide

Tips from OSHA’s Fall Prevention Training Guide

We think that OSHA publication 3666, Fall Prevention Training Guide: A Lesson Plan for Employers, is a helpful resource, and we’ve even created a fall prevention toolbox talk checklist to supplement the OSHA guide. You can download that checklist from the bottom of this article.

In this article, we’re going to highlight some of the major points that OSHA makes in the Fall Prevention Training Guide. You’ll see the guide addresses risk (and controls) related to ladder safety, scaffolding safety, and roof work safety.

Ladder Safety Tips

Here are some helpful tips for using ladders more safely:

  • Always choose ladders of the right size and type for the job
  • Make sure ladders are long enough that the side rails of the ladder extend at least 36 inches (3 feet) above the top support point
  • Don’t set up ladders in doorways or walkways. If you do, use barriers to protect anyone on the ladder
  • Keep the areas around the top and base of the ladder clear
  • Never splice two ladders together
  • Don’t try to increase the length/height of a ladder by standing it on top of something else
  • Don’t put personal stickers or decals on ladders
  • Don’t use ladders as a runway, platform, or scaffold
  • Angle ladders so there’s one foot of horizontal distance for every four feet of vertical distance
  • Secure the top of straight ladders to prevent them from shifting
  • Check your shoes for oil, grease, or mud, and wipe any off, before stepping onto a ladder (this will reduce the chances of slipping)
  • Always face the ladder when using it, hold it with both hands, and maintain three points of contact at all times
  • Don’t hold materials or tools in your hand while climbing up or down a ladder
  • Don’t extend your arms or body to reach out to either side of a ladder you’re on
  • Don’t allow more than one person to use the same ladder at any one time
  • Always inspect ladders before use
  • Store ladders appropriately between uses

You can read this article for more ladder safety information.


Scaffolding Safety Tips

Follow these tips to increase safety when working with or on a scaffold:

  • Design scaffolding properly before use
  • Inspect scaffolds daily or between each shift before use
  • Remove any damaged scaffolding from use immediately
  • Never climb the cross-bracing of a scaffold
  • Never stockpile materials on a scaffold
  • Remove all tools and equipment from a scaffold at the end of a day
  • Don’t overload scaffolds
  • When necessary to put materials on scaffolds, pile them over ledger and bearer points
  • Keep areas on and around scaffolds clear of debris and equipment that might cause slips, trips, and falls
  • Use the access ladders provided for a scaffold
  • Clear platforms of ice, snow, or mud before use
  • Put sand on wet scaffold plankings to reduce slipperiness
  • Never “ride’ on a mobile/riding scaffold
  • Only use a mobile scaffold on a level surface
  • Always lock caster brakes of a mobile scaffold in place when it’s not in motion
  • Use proper fall protection when working on scaffolds

You can read more Scaffolding Safety Information here.

Roofing Work Safety Tips

Doing the following will help keep you and others safer while doing roof work:

  • Know the fall hazards, including unprotected leading-edge work, unprotected wall and floor openings, hoist areas, uncovered holes, roof and elevator openings, poor working surface integrity, unprotected ramps and runways, dangerous equipment, form work and reinforcing steel, excavations, wells, and pits
  • Know the results of falls, including serious injuries and fatalities. Check this BLS news release on occupational fatalities in 2017 for an example–notice that slips, trips, and falls are #2 on the list.
  • Know the hazards associated with roofing work, including working near unprotected edges; unprotected wall and floor openings, including skylights; hoist areas; roof and elevator openings; equipment; form work and reinforcing steel; unprotected ramps and runways; and poor integrity of working surfaces
  • Know and use thefall protection hierarchy of controls, including elimination, guard rails, fall restraint, fall arrest, and other acceptable systems
  • Use appropriate fall prevention & protection PPE and use it properly, including personal fall arrest systems, guardrail systems, safety net systems, warning line systems, controlled access zones, safety monitor systems, and hole covers

Conclusion: Stand Down for Fall Prevention & Protection This Year and Every Year

We wrote this article as a contribution to OSHA’s Safety Stand Down in 2019. For more information and helpful resources, check out the OSHA Safety Stand Down web page.

And while you’re here, please download the free Fall Prevention Toolbox Talk Checklist, which provides resources that will help you lead toolbox talks related to fall prevention, and in particular on ladder safety, scaffolding safety, and roofing work safety. The checklist is intended to be used with OSHA’s Fall Prevention Training Guide (we’ve included a link to the OSHA guide in the checklist).

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