“fall protection plan” means a documented plan, which includes and provides for- (a) all risks relating to working from a fall risk position, considering the nature of work undertaken; (b) the procedures and methods to be applied in order to eliminate the risk of falling; and (c) a rescue plan and procedures;
“fall risk” means any potential exposure to fall either from, off or into;
Let us look at what is the requirements Construction Regulation 10 :
Fall protection 10. (1) A contractor must- (a) designate a competent person to be responsible for the preparation of a fall protection plan- the fall protection plan developer must have the following training, provided by an SETA accredited training provider: Unit standard 229998,229995 and 229994. Preferably the person must be registered by (IWH) Institute for Working at Heights. (b) ensure that the fall protection plan contemplated in paragraph (a) is implemented, amended where and when necessary and maintained as required- the CR8.1, CR8.7, and the Project Manager must have the latest copy of the fall protection plan at all times. The CR8.1 and CR8.7 must ensure compliance with the fall protection plan. (c) take steps to ensure continued adherence to the fall protection plan. (2) A fall protection plan contemplated in sub-regulation (1), must include- (a) a risk assessment of all work carried out from a fall risk position and the procedures and methods used to address all the risks identified per location- the method of access, the equipment as well as training and rescue procedures must be identified in the method statement. Based on this information and the site inspection the risk assessment must be developed.The risk assessment must be facilitated by a competent risk assessor and fall protection plan developer. (b) the processes for the evaluation of the employees’ medical fitness necessary to work at a fall risk position and the records thereof- all employees must have a valid medical fitness certificate for working at heights. The procedure must address chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, hypertension, heart disease, and others. (c) a program for the training of employees working from a fall risk position and the records thereof- all employees must be found competent for fall arrest – Unit standard 229998 or when doing rope access- Unit standard 230000 as well as 229998. It is recommended that all employees are trained by an accredited training provider and that all employees are IWH registered. (d) the procedure addressing the inspection, testing, and maintenance of all fall protection equipment- the procedure must identify who will inspect all equipment, when will the equipment be inspected and how will defective equipment be dealt with. (e) a rescue plan detailing the necessary procedure, personnel and suitable equipment required to effect a rescue of a person in the event of a fall incident to ensure that the rescue procedure is implemented immediately following the incident.- there must be an appropriate rescue kit available on site. The team must be trained on the use of the rescue kit and rescue procedure. The supervisor and members of the rescue team must be trained in Unit standard 229998 as well as 229995. The rescue plan must be practical and simple so that the employees will remember it. (3) A contractor must ensure that a construction manager appointed under regulation 8(1) is in possession of the most recently updated version of the fall protection plan. (4) A contractor must ensure that- (a) all unprotected openings in floors, edges, slabs, hatchways, and stairways are adequately guarded, fenced or barricaded or that similar means are used to safeguard any person from falling through such openings; (b) no person is required to work in a fall risk position unless such work is performed safely as contemplated in sub-regulation (2); (c) fall prevention and fall arrest equipment are- (i) approved as suitable and of sufficient strength for the purpose for which they are being used, having regard to the work being carried out and the load, including any person, they are intended to bear- take into consideration the OEM specifications of the equipment as well as the SANS standards. (ii) securely attached to a structure or plant, and the structure or plant and the means of attachment thereto are suitable and of sufficient strength and stability for the purpose of safely supporting the equipment and any person who could fall-self identified anchor points must have a safe working load of 150 kg and a breaking strength of 1500 kg for one person. (d) fall arrest equipment is used only where it is not reasonably practicable to use fall prevention equipment.- fall prevention equipment is equipment such as lifelines, retractable lifelines, work positioning belts and etc. (5) Where roof work is being performed on a construction site, the contractor must ensure that, in addition to the requirements set out in sub regulations (2) and (4), it is indicated in the fall the protection plan that- (a) the roof work has been properly planned- again there must be a roof work method statement addressing all of the above and include the process of carrying out roof work safely. (b) the roof erectors are competent to carry out the work- how do you proof competence? through experience, knowledge, and training. There is no training in the roofing industry for roof sheeters. So you will need to prove experience and knowledge. Suppliers such as GRS and Safintra provide product training which can assist in proof of competence. (c) no employee is permitted to work on roofs during inclement weather conditions or if any conditions are hazardous to the health and safety of the employee; (d) all covers to openings and fragile material are of sufficient strength to withstand any imposed loads; (e) suitable and sufficient platforms, coverings or other similar means of support have been provided to be used in such a way that the weight of any person passing across or working on or from fragile material is supported; and (t) suitable and sufficient guard-rails, barriers and toe-boards or other similar means of protection prevent, as far as is reasonably practicable, the fall of any person, material or equipment.
When developing a fall protection plan, the first step will be to draft a method statement. In the method statement, you identify the method of access- ladders, scaffolding, MEWP or rope access. From there you can identify the type of equipment needed such as harness, and what type of harness. Lifelines, descending devices, ascending devices and etc. Look carefully at the OEM specifications of the equipment as well as the SANS standards.
Now you can identify what method will be used, will it be fall arrest or rope access. And what type of training is necessary for the employees.
There is no such thing as a one fit all fall protection plan. Each site will differ and the fall protection plan must be in line with your scope of work.
Stephan Van Der Westhuizen is an IWH registered fall arrest and rescue technician, fall protection plan developer and climbing equipment inspector. We assist with the development of site and task specific fall protection plans.