The purpose of the Fall Protection Program is to establish guidelines to protect all employees engaged in outdoor or indoor work activities that expose them to potential falls from elevations. In particular, this program applies to those staff engaged in work activities which expose them to falls from heights of 4 feet or more.
Each location that requires fall protection presents unique challenges and requires the expertise of a “Qualified Person” to perform an assessment and determine the proper equipment and training required to safely perform the required work. OSHA defines the Qualified Person as “someone who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate or professional standing, or who 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.” See: Duties and Responsibilities.
All fall hazards must be identified at work sites that have the potential for elevated work. Once an elevated fall hazard has been recognized, an appropriate control measure must be selected. Priority should be given to elimination of the fall hazard over the use of fall protection equipment. The first line of defense in addressing a fall hazard is to identify and eliminate the hazard. If a fall hazard cannot be eliminated, the second consideration would be to assess the workplace or process and implement an effective permanent means of providing fall protection. If a fall hazard cannot be eliminated and changes to the workplace cannot adequately ensure the prevention of falls, the last line of defense should be to control the fall which would require the use of a fall arrest system.
Any time a worker is at a height of four feet or more, the worker is at risk and needs to be protected. Fall protection must be provided at four feet in general industry, five feet in maritime, and six feet in construction. However, regardless of the fall distance, fall protection must be provided when working over dangerous equipment and machinery. Fall protection must be provided on roofs without 42" high parapet walls or railings. Workers must use fall protection where required.
Contractors and vendors working at or for Florida State University must have an OSHA compliant Fall Protection Program and follow all requirements.