What is the Hierarchy of Fall Protection?

The Hierarchy of Fall Protection is the preferred order of control for fall hazards. As the hierarchy progresses, so does the level of risk.

  1. Hazard Elimination: Removal of any risk of fall hazard. Zero risk level.
  2. Passive Fall Protection: Placement of physical barriers like guardrails around unprotected edges and covers over open holes.
  3. Fall Restraint Systems: Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to limit a worker’s field of movement, preventing a fall.
  4. Fall Arrest Systems: Use of PPE to reduce the impact of a fall to within acceptable force and clearance margins and prevent striking a lower level.
  5. Administrative Controls: Implementation of workplace practices and procedures which alert a worker to all fall hazards. This is the least preferred method offering no means of physical protection. High risk level.

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