Fall Protection Systems are designed to protect personnel from the risk of falls when working at elevated heights. Recognized systems include:

  1. FALL PREVENTION - a structural design to limit a fall to the same level (e.g., guardrails, aerial lifts with work platforms).
  2. FALL ARREST EQUIPMENT - an approved full body harness, shock absorbing lanyard or self retractable lifeline, locking snaphooks and anchor points approved for a static load of 5000 pounds or engineered to meet a two to one safety factor.

Vehicle mounted elevating work platform (e.g. Boom Lifts, Articulating Telescoping Boom Lifts and Scissor Lifts).

Occupational Safety & Health Administration

One or more platforms supported by outrigger beams, brackets, poles, legs, uprights, posts, frames or similar rigid support.

One or more platforms suspended by ropes or other non-rigid means from an overhead structure(s).

A person who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are hazardous to personnel and who has authorization to quickly correct the situation.

A person with a recognized degree or professional certificate, (e.g. civil or mechanical engineering profession or Certified Safety Professional) and extensive knowledge and experience in this area, capable of doing design, analysis, evaluation and specifications.

ANSI (American National Standards Institute) defines certification as documentation that determines criteria meets the requirements of the standard through testing or proven analytical method (e.g. engineering calculations) or both, carried out under the supervision of a QUALIFIED PERSON.

The purpose of the Fall Protection Procedures is to instruct departments on: (1) Fall Protection requirements and; (2) the Department's responsibility to train faculty, staff and student members exposed to the risk of falls on FALL PROTECTION SYSTEMS established by the department including their safety procedures to protect personnel from fall hazards. Assistance is available from Environmental Health & Safety to perform fall hazard analysis, recommend FALL PROTECTION SYSTEM options and coordinate personnel training on FALL ARREST EQUIPMENT.


  1. Departments must review work locations and activities to identify existing or potential fall hazards and identify personnel that may be exposed to fall hazards.
  2. Departments who assign work activities to their faculty, staff or student members that are four feet or more from a lower level must use an appropriate FALL PROTECTION SYSTEM.
  3. Departments must provide resources for personnel training and procurement of fall arrest equipment or other fall protection systems necessary for working safely at elevated heights.
  4. Departments must train faculty, staff or student members to: (1) recognize fall hazards specific to their work location or assigned work activities, (2) follow established safety procedures to protect them from fall hazards and (3) use the selected FALL PROTECTION SYSTEM correctly.


  1. Climbing, standing on or working from equipment, pipes, ducts or other such areas is prohibited except for where the surface is designed for climbing or standing. Appropriate fall protection must be implemented when areas have been designed for climbing or standing and are elevated four feet or more from ground or a lower level.
  2. AERIAL LIFT - Work activities that are performed with an AERIAL LIFT must be in conformance with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.67 Vehicle Mounted Elevating and Rotating Work Platforms. Basic requirements include but are not limited to:
  3. SELF POWERED PLATFORMS - Permanently installed SELF POWERED PLATFORMS for building maintenance (generally used for high rise window cleaning and painting) must be in conformance with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.66 Powered Platforms for Building Maintenance.
  4. SUSPENDED SCAFFOLDS (swinging scaffolds) used to service buildings on a temporary basis must be in conformance with Appendix D of OSHA 29 CFR 1910.66 Powered Platforms for Building Maintenance.
  5. SUPPORTED and SUSPENDED SCAFFOLDING for construction, renovation and maintenance activities must be in conformance with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.26.450 - SCAFFOLDS. Basic requirements include but are not limited to:
  6. LADDER SAFETY for wood/metal portable and extension ladders includes frequent inspection and prompt removal of defective ladders from service. Defective ladders must be tagged as Dangerous, Do Not Use and repaired or destroyed. Ladder Inspection criteria includes but is not limited to the following:
  8. ANCHOR POINTS FOR PERSONAL FALL ARREST EQUIPMENT Secure anchor points are the most critical component when employees must use fall arrest equipment. UVA buildings may have existing structures (e.g., steel beams or anchored roof cupolas that may meet the criteria for a secure anchor point). Other work locations and assignments may require the installation of a temporary or permanent anchor. As a minimum, the following criteria must be considered for each type of anchor point:
  9. FALL ARREST EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS: Fall Arrest Equipment reduces the risk of injuries that can occur when a worker falls from one level to another. If engineering controls are not feasible to prevent the fall, fall arrest equipment becomes the last line of defense. Equipment manufacturers routinely test and certify components of their fall arrest equipment as a "system". Components of fall arrest equipment from different manufacturers are rarely interchangeable or certified as a complete "fall arrest system." Consistency (one manufacturer's line of fall arrest equipment) is usually the best choice for departments and/or cost centers to ensure compatibility of equipment. Assistance is available from Environmental Health & Safety on selection and procurement of Fall Arrest Equipment. Critical components of fall arrest equipment include:

ISSUED BY: Director, Office Environmental Health & Safety

CURRENT REVISION DATE: 05/27/13; (last revision dates: 08/21/08, 03/01/99)