Knowledge Center / The Hierarchy of Fall Protection

OSHA Compliance and Fall Protection

The Hierarchy of Fall Protection

Working with Kee Safety, you have a partner in the field. Our experts walk the roof with you to assess the hazards and discuss the best combination of products and systems to mitigate risk of injury to your workers.The first step is always to eliminate the risk. Often, we can assist you in this most sensible solution: remove the risk entirely. If that is not an option, then we move toward a fall protection plan to reduce risk on your rooftop.


Level 1 – Elimination of Hazards

The first - and preferred solution to all fall hazards - is elimination. This includes looking at your procedure, practice, and location to design-out the risk wherever possible. This Level 1 approach is best applied as part of the planning and building phase, but should be the first consideration even after construction is complete. There is no safer, more effective way to protect an employee from a fall than to remove the fall hazard itself. If there is no hazard, there’s no risk of fall.


Level 2 – Collective [OSHA: Passive]

The second level is known as Collective Fall Protection. Collective refers to a solution that "collectively" protects everyone. Barriers and guardrails are the most common example of a collective [passive] system. The benefit of this higher quality of fall protection is that user competency and training requirements are low. Installing a collective fall protection system ensures everyone on the roof is safeguarded from a fall.


Level 3 – Work Restraint [OSHA: Active]

The third level of rooftop safety solutions is Work Restraint. A restraint system is engineered to prevent a fall from occurring by using personal fall arrest equipment (harness, lanyard, and anchor point) in such a way that the user cannot reach the edge. Work Restraint is always the preferred system to mitigate the possibility of a fall.



Level 4 – Fall Arrest System
[OSHA: Personal Fall Arrest]

A Fall Arrest System is designed so a fall is possible - but the fall is "arrested" or interrupted within an acceptable force and fall distance.
Fall Arrest's purpose is to save a worker's life in the event of a fall from the roof. Additional training and a high level of user competency is required for Fall Arrest applications to be properly employed.




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