According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls are the No. 1 killer in the construction industry and the second leading killer in private industry. In contrast to this well-known statistic, employers have always had the responsibility for solving fall hazards at their job sites.
The requirements were scattered throughout the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) regulations. This made devising a cohesive fall plan a challenging and daunting task.
In late 2007, a new standard took effect that helps to provide the knowledge and guidelines needed for those in construction to take a first step to protect against falls. Standard ANSI/ASSE Z359-2007 deals with fall arrest systems and helps employers to be aggressive when implementing a fall safety program.
The Managed Fall Protection Program (MFPP) is composed of five individual standards that work as a unit dedicated to all aspects of fall protection. Many sides of the construction industry had input in developing the standard. The committee included engineers, end-users, military personnel, representatives from OSHA and ANSI, fall protection equipment manufacturers, rescue experts and academics.
Due to the inclusiveness of this standard, there are significant differences between it and the previous standards. A main difference is that the new standard works to clarify and condense what is already known about fall protection. The language is specific to allow employers, employees, owners and consultants to better understand their fall protection roles and responsibilities. Also, previous standards dealing with different aspects of fall protection were spread throughout all the standards. There wasn’t one place to find everything needed to put together a concise program. The MFPP places all standards dealing with fall protection in one spot, making working with fall protection much more manageable.
These five standards make up the MFPP:
ANSI/ASSE Z359-2007’s mission is to identify and fill in any gaps in the fall protection program. With the inclusion of expanded definitions, the intent for providing fall protection is easier to grasp and to implement. Integrating fall protection information into one standard decreases the likelihood an employer misses what’s needed to keep all employees safe on the job.
KELLY is a safety and health specialist with Intec, a safety consulting, training and publishing firm that offers on-site assistance and produces manuals, training videos and software for contractors. She can be reached at 800.745.4818 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This article was edited by Joe O’Connor.