It’s winter now, but fall protection never goes out of season. Nearly every fall-related fatality recorded by OSHA was preventable. That is, people who were killed by falling didn’t have to die.
Douglas Adams is famously quoted as saying, “It’s not the fall that kills you; it’s the sudden stop at the end.” But by preventing the fall in the first place, you prevent that sudden stop.
Some things that could make you fall will be someone else’s fault. For example, scaffolding isn’t properly assembled. But it’s your life at risk, so it’s up to you to check that scaffolding before using it. Don’t just look at the date on the inspection tag, look at the scaffolding itself. Are all the braces in place? Are the boards secured or are they free to flip up? Is unit on secure footing?
Some things that could make you fall are just inherently there and you can’t do anything about eliminating that particular risk. For example, you can access a junction box only by walking across the domed top of a vessel and it’s 50 feet up. But you can use other measures, such as fall restraints, to eliminate the 50 foot drop to the ground.
One of the best things you can do for fall safety is pay attention. This sounds like a “no brainer,” but inattention is a major contributor to lethal falls.