Fall Protection Program

The purpose of this program is to protect employees from falling from elevated work surfaces. Fall protection is required by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), specifically outlined in Subpart D (Walking and Working Surfaces), Duty to have fall protection and falling object protection, 29 CFR, 1910.28.

The Fall Protection Program describes in detail the requirements for work performed on elevated surfaces, such as roofs, or during construction activities.


Fall protection is required by OSHA when work is performed in an area that is 4 feet higher than its surroundings, or 6 feet above surroundings for construction activities. Exceptions to the rule include work done from scaffolds, ladders, derricks and cranes, and work involving electrical transmission and distribution.

Fall protection can generally be provided through the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. Where it can be clearly demonstrated that the use of one of these systems is infeasible or creates a greater hazard, a fall protection plan that provides for alternative measures may be implemented.

Roles and Responsibilities

Department Heads must identify areas where fall protection is needed, obtain or develop fall protection systems, and ensure workers are trained.

Supervisors must know when fall protection is necessary, provide workers with fall protection devices, and ensure workers use fall protection devices.

EHS will assist in the implementation of this program, as well as coordinate general fall protection training, retain all training records, and periodically review and updates the written program. Additionally, EHS will evaluate work being performed and determine compliance with the program and evaluate the overall effectiveness of the program on a periodic basis.

Employees must complete fall protection training, know when fall protection is necessary, request further instruction if unsure how to use fall protection systems, conduct assigned tasks in a safe manner, wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and report any unsafe work conditions to their supervisor.

Contractors engaged in activities that require working at heights shall comply with all applicable OSHA regulations regarding fall protection. Contractors are responsible for providing their own fall protection equipment and using it properly.

hazard identification

Any working height greater than 4 feet is considered a fall hazard and employees must be protected. In construction settings, the working height at which fall hazards must be controlled is 6 feet.

hazard evaluation

The Fall Protection Program has been designed to evaluate potential fall hazards through a logical hazard assessment process.  When a work task or work area presents a fall hazard, the supervisor or competent person must evaluate these potential hazards.

Can the hazard be eliminated? If not, determine how the hazard can be prevented or controlled.

Elimination of fall hazards is the first choice when presented with the hazard. This requires an assessment of the workplace and the work being conducted.

Prevention of fall hazards is implemented when the hazard cannot be eliminated from a workplace or work task. Prevention involves making changes to the workplace or the worker’s behavior to prevent falls. Fall hazard prevention involves the use of stairs, guardrails, work platforms or other means of passive fall protection.

Control of fall hazards may only be implemented after it is determined that a specific hazard cannot be eliminated or prevented. This is to be the last choice in fall hazard assessment. Fall hazard control is  accomplished through the use of assorted fall protection equipment.

Fall protection systems

The Fall Protection Program describes in detail the various infrastructure, equipment and systems that may be chosen when providing fall protection, including:

  • Guardrails
  • Personal Fall Arresting Systems
  • Lifelines
  • Anchorage Points
  • Fall Protection Harnesses
  • Positioning Device Systems
  • Safety Monitoring by a Competent Person
  • Safety Net Systems
  • Warning Line Systems
  • Covers

Additional information

Falling objects. Protection must be provided from falling objects. Work surfaces should be kept clear of material and debris by removal at regular intervals, and toe boards should be used to prevent objects from being inadvertently kicked to a lower level.

Prohibited Devices. Body harnesses are required for use with all personal fall arrest systems; however, use of body belts is prohibited.