Why Fall Prevention is More Powerful than Fall Protection

Would you rather build a fence at the top of a cliff or would you park an ambulance at the bottom? Most people would say they would rather build a fence at the top in order to prevent needing an ambulance in the first place. Similar logic applies to the concept of fall prevention.

Fall protection helps prevent injuries, but it is not addressing the actual problem. The best way to deal with risks is by eliminating risks. You may be saying the main risk from using ladders comes from the operator standing many feet off the ground, which is true, but there are also ways to protect against falls.

So how do you prevent falls?

Education
One of the best ways you can prevent falls is by training your team. You can have a trained safety professional come and train you and your team. Many organizations, including mine, offer free safety training. You can also train your team through videos and content from OSHA, the American Ladder Institute, or Ladder Safety Hub. Training your team will help them be more aware of the potential risks and in turn will help them to be more careful.

Innovation and the Right Tools
A protective cage is featured on some new ladder designs. (Little Giant Ladders photo)Another way to prevent falls is to have the necessary prevention equipment. There are new, innovative products out there that are changing the industry, making it safer. One of these products is the Aerial Safety Cage, an adjustable ladder with a fully enclosed platform. The cage can be adjusted for uneven surfaces and follows all tie-off requirements.

Another innovation helps the cable and telephone companies. The product is a positioning system for extension ladders. What used to be a dangerous and unpredictable job has now become much safer with the weight-activated clamp mechanism at the top of the extension ladder. In addition to the clamp, there is a positioner for the operator to use as a safety harness. If the operator slips, the clamp holds tight and the positioner stops the operator from falling.

Posted by David Francis on Jul 08, 2014


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