Approach Management

ToolBox Talks: Lesson Two, Fall Protection

Nationally, nearly 300 workers die from falling every year.



The leading cause for worker fatalities in construction work is due to falls. Every year nearly 300 workers die nationally and more than 100,000 are injured from falling. Most trades in the construction industry work “at heights” where there is often the need for fall protection and training how to use it. In 2017, Washington State had 9 fatalities due to falls from elevation in construction.



Washington State’s requirements:

0 feet, you much be protected if you can fall, step into a hole, opening or when working around dangerous equipment or an implement hazards.

4 feet, basically Washington’s requirement would be for most surfaces such as the “walking working surface” Working at or above this height requires that fall protection be provided and used. This prevents the risks of dangerous falls, when working at this height. The need to work at this height must be anticipated and work activities planned accordingly. Careful planning, preparation, assessment of the work­site for fall hazards, and the selection of appropriate protective systems must be provided and installed before employees may begin work.

10 feet, currently this height is the exception to the 4-foot requirement and only allowed in certain tasks and circumstances, such as roofing on low pitched roofs or leading-edge work (advancing of the deck or surface).



Employers need to determine what type of fall protection will be used, such as “fall restraint or fall arrest”:

Fall restraint is a system that will not allow you to experience a free fall of any distance
Fall arrest is a system that keeps you from hitting the surface below when in a free fall


Employers must do the following;

  • Select systems and equipment that conditions require
  • Properly construct and install appropriate safety system
  • Careful and thorough training of workers in the proper selection, use, and maintenance of fall protection systems

Employees are required to:

  • Accept training and be diligent in hazard recognition
  • Use safe work practices
  • Use fall protection equipment properly
  • Observe fall protection rules & regulations



When workers are exposed to fall hazards of 10 feet or greater:
A fall protection work plan is required and should be kept on site where the work activity is taking place. Everyone
exposed to a fall hazard of 10 feet or greater must be trained in the assembly, disassembly, and inspection of the fall protection systems.

Examples of primary areas or activities where fall protection is required:
1. Framing, installation of trusses
2. Roofing work
3. Aerial boom lifts
4. Unprotected sides and edges
5. Pre­cast concrete erection
6. Concrete formwork
7. Steel erection
8. Wall openings
9. Reinforcing steel work
10. Leading-edge (advancing) work



Safety - A small investment for a rich future

Let’s be safe out there!

<< back to news
Minimizing Risk. Maximizing Savings.