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Preparing to prevent falls
Anchor 1
Make fall protection part of your safety program

Make fall protection part of your safety program and ensure that everyone has a role to play in preventing falls. Most successful programs have the following elements:

Management commitment. Business owners and managers are as committed to workplace safety as they are to any other critical part of the business.

Accountability. Supervisors and employees are held accountable for following safe work practices.

Employee involvement. Employees are involved in the day-to-day effort to maintain a safe workplace.

Hazard identification. Supervisors and employees know how to identify hazards.

Hazard control. Supervisors and employees know how to eliminate or reduce exposure to hazards.

Accident and incident investigation. Accidents and near misses are investigated and their causes prevented from happening again.

Training. Employees learn safe work practices through classroom training and instruction.

Evaluation. Business owners and managers evaluate their safety goals at least yearly and use the evaluation to set new goals.

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Anchor 2
Prepare a safety policy

Does your company have a written safety policy? It should as a best practice. A written policy reflects commitment to a safe and healthful workplace, summarizes management and employee responsibilities, and emphasizes the safety program’s role. Keep the policy brief, commit to it, and enforce it.

Examples of a workplace safety policy

Business commitment. Our company is committed to a safe and healthful workplace for all its employees. Our safety
program involves all employees in the effort to control workplace hazards. All employees, including managers and
supervisors, are held accountable for following this policy.

Management responsibilities. Our managers are responsible for preventing injuries and illnesses and considering all
suggestions for achieving a safe workplace. Managers will stay informed about workplace hazards and will review the safety
program at least once a year.

Supervisors’ responsibilities. Our supervisors are responsible for supervising and training employees to work safely.
Supervisors must enforce safe practices and correct hazardous conditions.

Safety committee responsibilities. Our safety committee includes management representatives and employee
representatives who are responsible for identifying hazards and recommending how to eliminate or control them. The
committee is also responsible for helping managers review the safety program’s strengths and weaknesses.

Employees’ responsibilities. Our safety program achieves success through our employees. All employees are responsible
for identifying and reporting hazards immediately to their supervisors or safety committee representatives, for following safe work practices, and for using required personal protective equipment.

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Anchor 3
Designate competent persons and qualified persons

Many of Oregon OSHA’s construction rules refer to competent persons and qualified persons. Federal OSHA created these
terms to designate those who can evaluate hazardous conditions and mechanical systems, inspect equipment, and train
others to work safely.

Who can be competent and qualified persons? OSHA offers the following definitions:

Competent person. “One who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the working conditions which
are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to
eliminate them.” [1926.32(f)]

Subdivision R (Steel Erection) also adds the following: “In Oregon, a competent person is considered to be someone
with equivalent skills as a qualified person in identifying existing and potential hazards in the workplace, while also being
authorized by the employer or employer’s representative to take immediate corrective action to control or eliminate hazards.”

Qualified person. “One who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or by extensive
knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.” [1926.32(m)]

Federal OSHA doesn’t provide specifics for determining who can assume these roles.


The following guidelines may help:

• Know the Oregon OSHA rules that apply to your workplace. The rules will tell you if you need to designate a competent or a qualified person.

• If an Oregon OSHA rule requires a competent person or qualified person, note the person’s duties and responsibilities.

• If an Oregon OSHA rule requires a competent person, that person must have the authority to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate hazards.

• Determine the knowledge, training, and experience the person needs to meet the rule’s requirements.

• Designate a person whose knowledge, training, and experience meet the rule’s requirements.

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Anchor 4
Duties and responsibilities of competent and qualified persons

The competent person

• Serves as the monitor in a safety-monitoring system, is responsible for recognizing hazards that cause falls, and warns workers about hazards

• Determines whether safety nets meet Subdivision M requirements

• Inspects a personal fall-arrest system after it arrests a fall and determines whether the system is damaged

• Evaluates any alteration in a personal fall-arrest system and determines if it is safe to use

• Supervises installation of slide-guard systems

• Trains employees how to recognize fall hazards and follow safety procedures

The qualified person

• Supervises design, installation, and use of horizontal lifeline systems to ensure that they can maintain a safety factor of at least two — twice the impact of a worker free-falling six feet

• Supervises design, installation, and use of personal fall-restraint anchorages

• Supervises design, installation, and use of personal fall-arrest anchorages

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Anchor 5
Summary: preparing to prevent falls

Fall protection is what you do to eliminate hazards that cause falls and to ensure that workers who do fall, don’t die. Before you start a construction project, think about the hazards workers may encounter and what you can do to keep workers safe.

• Prepare and have employees follow a workplace safety policy that includes fall protection.

• Determine whether you need to designate competent or qualified persons.

• Provide fall protection training to your employees.

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This photo identifies multiple unsafe work practices including:

No fall protection systems for workers

six feet or mare above a lower level

Poor lifting practice

No fall protection

No head protection from falling objects

Improper scaffolding design

Poor housekeeping














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