Fall protection includes things you wear and things you don't. It's a mistake to treat these as interchangeable substitutes. For example, it's untrue that you don't need a net because you have a harness or vice versa. Wearable and non-wearable fall protection devices work together.

It's helpful to plan your fall protection with a 2-stage view. The first stage involves equipment and procedures that prevent a fall. For example, a mezzanine might have a railing around it, and your work procedures may call for removing all cable scraps (thus removing a slipping hazard) before moving on to the next task. The second stage involves saving you if you do fall. For example, installing a net and wearing a harness.

Before working on any elevation:

  • Plan the work. Try to reduce the amount of work done while elevated, and eliminate trips up and down where possible.
  • Look at methods. A small change might make a big safety difference. For example, it would be safer to lower the tool bucket from the right side where there’s a railing rather from the left side where there's not.
  • Assess fall protection needs. Don't try to see how high you can go before you “have to” use fall protection. Assume you will fall. Determine what you need to protect yourself, regardless of the height or job duration.