Safety Standards for Fall Protection

Safety Standards for Fall Protection Equipment

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a national body that functions to promote and protect worker safety. Safety regulations relating to the construction industry are covered by section 1926 of the OSHA code, with fall safety standards falling under Subpart M of that section. Fall safety equipment plays a vital role in protecting workers in the construction industry, and the products offered by Guardian Fall Protection are carefully designed and manufactured to comply with the most current OSHA regulations. To view specific OSHA standards relating to fall safety, please visit their website.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a national body of volunteers that work to innovate and refine safety standards in the fall protection industry. ANSI is comprised of engineers, contractors, and other experts in the construction and other related industries, and draws upon the knowledge and experience of its members to set regulations for product testing, installation, application, and more. ANSI regulations are not legally binding, but do provide valuable direction and resources for best practice construction methods. ANSI regulations are also frequently adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, whose standards and regulations are enforced by law.

OSHA 1926

OSHA 1926, Subpart M

OSHA 1926, Subpart M, details the many regulations that must be met for the proper and legally compliant use of fall protection equipment. Worker training plays a central role in OSHA fall protection standards, since fall protection equipment will not serve its purpose unless it is used correctly.

OSHA 1926.503 (a)(1) states:

“The employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling, and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.”

Your training program needs to cover:

  1. The nature of fall hazards in the work area.
  2. The correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, disassembling, and inspecting the fall protection systems to be used.
  3. The use and operation of guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, safety net systems, warning line systems, safety monitoring systems, controlled access zones, and other protection to be used.
  4. The role of each employee in the safety monitoring system when this system is used.
  5. The limitations on the use of mechanical equipment during the performance of roofing work on low-sloped roofs.
  6. The correct procedures for the handling and storage of equipment and materials and the erection of overhead protection.
  7. The role of employees in fall protection plans.
  8. The standards contained in OSHA 1926, Subpart M.

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Other Fall Protection related Safety Standards include:

ANSI Z359.1-07

Fall Safety requirements and definitions.

ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2012 - Definitions and Nomenclature Used for Fall Protection and Fall Arrest.
ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-2007 - Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Subsystems and Components.
ANSI/ASSE Z359.2-2007 - Minimum Requirements for a Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program.
ANSI/ASSE Z359.3-2007 - Safety Requirements for Positioning and Travel Restraint Systems.
ANSI/ASSE Z359.4-2013 - Safety Requirements for Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue Systems, Subsystems and Components.
ANSI/ASSE Z359.6-2009 - Specifications and Design Requirements for Active Fall Protection Systems.
ANSI/ASSE Z359.7-2011 - Qualification and Verification Testing of Fall Protection Products.
ANSI/ASSE Z359.12-2009 - Connecting Components for Personal Fall Arrest System.
ANSI/ASSE Z359.13-2013 - Personal Energy Absorbers and Energy Absorbing Lanyards.
ANSI/ASSE Z359.14-2012 - Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices For Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems.

For full text standards, go to:

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ANSI A10.32-12

Fall Protection Systems for Construction & Demolition Operations

This standard establishes performance criteria for personal fall protection equipment and systems in construction and demolition and provides guidelines and recommendations for their use and inspection. It includes, but is not limited to; fall arrest, restraint, positioning, climbing, descending, rescue, escape and training activities. This standard does not include linemen’s body belts, pole straps, window washers’ belts, chest/waist harnesses and sports equipment.

For more information please visit the ASSE web site:

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1.1 This standard covers the specifications and qualification testing of the following:
Climber straps,
Climber Pads,
Climber Footplates,
Body Belts,
Positioning Devices with Locking Snaphooks/Carabiners,
Wood Pole Fall Restriction Devices (WPFRD),
Arborist Saddle,
Shock Absorbing Lanyards.

These devices are used by workers in the climbing of poles, trees, towers, and other structures. Minimum performance criteria for arc resistance of harnesses and shock absorbing lanyards are included for workers who may be exposed to thermal hazards of momentary electric arcs or flame.

1.2 Three types of climbers, (Types A, B, and C) and two types of climber straps, Types (A and B) are covered.

1.3 Two types of body belts, (Types A and B) are covered.

1.4 Eight types of positioning devices: three positioning straps, (Types A, B, and C), three adjustable-positioning lanyards, (Types A, B and C) and two nonadjustable positioning lanyards, (Types A and B) are covered.

1.5 Two types of WPFRD, (Types A and AB) are covered.

1.6 Arborist saddle, (Type A) Positioning and Suspension are covered.

1.7 Two types of harnesses, (Types A and B) are covered.

1.8 Two types of shock absorbing lanyards, (Types A and B) are covered.

1.9 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

1.10 The following safety hazards caveat pertains only to the test method portions, 9.2, 10.3, 11.2, 14.4, 15.3, 15.4, 18.4, 21.2, 22, 23, and 24 of these specifications: This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.