Every day, workers are injured in falls. Some of these happen on the same level, such as when a worker trips and falls or slips on a slick surface. But many of these falls happen from heights, and they can be some of the most severe accidents on a job site.
Fortunately, there are different types of fall protection systems that workers can use. These can be divided into three categories, which address the risk in slightly different ways.
First of all, a fall prevention system creates a barrier of some sort, keeping the worker from the dangerous area. An example of this could be if workers have to walk across a catwalk. It should have guardrails on the sides so that, in theory, a worker simply could not fall from that spot.
The next type of protection system stops a worker who has begun to fall. That fall is still possible, but the system aims to limit the severity of the injuries. An example of this could be a worker on a roof who has a rope and harness system. That worker could still slip and fall, but the harness would catch them before they went over the edge of the roof.
Finally, a hybrid system will sometimes be used. A worker is connected to a line, but it is tied off so that they can’t reach the dangerous area. Again, this could apply to workers who are on a roofing job. If the harness and rope are set up so that the worker can’t get to the edge of the roof, there should be no risk that they will fall to the ground below.
These systems do help, but they don’t prevent all accidents and injuries. Workers who have been hurt on the job need to know what legal steps to take.