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Fall Protection Policy


To provide guidelines for maximum protection for employees against falls from elevations.



  1. Policy review and audit functions shall be provided by Environmental Health and Safety.
  2. Departments, Centers/Institutes are responsible for supporting and enforcing this policy to ensure compliance by all employees.
  3. Departments, Centers/Institutes shall make responsible use of primary fall protection systems such as scaffolds, aerial lifts, personnel hoists, etc. These systems shall be equipped with complete walking/working surfaces free of floor openings, standard guard rails, and a safe means of access.

Safety Instruction

  1. Safety instruction shall be given to each employee assigned work in elevated areas. Supervisors shall analyze all elevated tasks as to fall protection needs and to ensure adequate fall protection systems are provided. After analyzing the tasks, supervisors shall instruct employees in the specific fall protection measures to be used.

Procedures - Definitions can be found at the end of the policy

  1. A fall restraint system with continuous attachment shall be used by employees in work areas not protected by guard rails, where there is a danger of employees falling from a distance of six feet or greater.
  2. The primary fall restraint device shall be a Class III body harness. The lanyard anchorage point must be such that the maximum fall distance, without contact, is four feet or six feet if the lanyard is used in conjunction with an ANSI approved shock absorber.
  3. Shock-absorbing lanyards together with a Class III body harness shall meet a force limit of 1800 pounds.
  4. Body belts are not to be considered a means of fall protection and are prohibited for use at Lehigh University.
  5. Employees shall be trained in the correct use of fall restraint devices.
  6. Approved safety lanyards shall be a minimum of inch thick nylon or equivalent, with a maximum length to provide for a fall of no greater than 6 feet. Lanyards will have double locking snap hooks. Minimum breaking strength requirement for lanyards is 5,000 pounds.
  7. If a lanyard made of synthetic fibers is subjected to hot surfaces, an insulated cover must be used for protection. Lanyards must be protected against sharp surfaces.
  8. Fall restraint devices subjected to impact loading shall be removed from service and destroyed.
  9. When employees are working off portable ladders and the work requires them to be outside the "confines of the ladder", a fall restraint system must be used.
  10. Employees engaged in roofing work on low-pitched roofs shall be protected from falling by using one of the following systems:
    1. A Motion-Stopping Safety system (MSS system).
    2. A Warning Line System erected not less than six feet from roof edges which are not protected by other means of fall protection. If employees are working outside the warning line system, an MSS system or safety monitoring system must be used.
    3. A Safety Monitoring System on roofs fifty feet or less in width where mechanical equipment is not being used or stored.
  11. Employees engaged in roof work must be trained in the erection and use of the MSS system, the Warning Line and Safety Monitoring Systems, and job procedures required for roof work.
    *Exception - when employees are on roofs only to inspect, investigate, or estimate roof level conditions, they are exempt from requirement #9 above.
  12. Employees engaged in work on low-pitched roofs, other than roofing and more than ten feet from the edge, do not need to have a fall restraint system.
  13. Employees engaged in work on steep roofs may use either scaffolding or a crawling board (chicken ladder). The crawling board must be at least 10 inches wide and one inch thick, having cleats 1 x 1 inches. The cleats must be equal in length to the width of the board and spaced at equal intervals not to exceed 24 inches. Nails must be driven through and clinched on the underside. The crawling board must extend from the ridge pole to the eaves. Lifelines must be secured above the point of operation to an anchorage or structural member capable of supporting a minimum dead weight of 5,000 pounds.
  14. Personnel working from or riding in any aerial device shall wear a fall restraint system with the lanyard attached to the boom or basket.


  1. Fall restraint devices shall be visually inspected for defects prior to use.
  2. Fall restraint devices shall be inspected when new and every six months thereafter. Inspect for cuts, burns, excessive wear, loose splices, defective hardware, and distorted thimbles. The date of each inspection shall be recorded on an inspection tag and permanently attached to the fall restraint device.

Class I Body Belt
A device worn around the waist to which a lanyard or lifeline grabbing device is attached. Body belts are not allowed for use at Lehigh University.
Class III Body Harness
A harness system designed to spread shock load over the shoulders, thighs and seat area.
Flexible line that secures the wearer of a harness to a vertical or horizontal lifeline of a fixed anchorage.
Fixed Anchorage
Secured point of attachment and not part of the work surface.
A Motion-Stopping-Safety (MSS) System
System providing fall protection by using the following equipment singly or in combination: guardrail; scaffolds, or platforms with guardrail; safety nets; and body belt/harness systems.
A Warning Line System
A temporary rope, wire, or chain and supporting stanchion erected not less than six feet from the edge of a roof and flagged at no more than six foot intervals with high visibility material. Minimum tensile strength of the rope, wire or chain must be 500 pounds.
Safety Monitoring System
A system in which a competent person monitors the safety of all employees in a roofing crew and warns them when it appears to the monitor that they are unaware of the hazard or are acting in an unsafe manner. The competent person must be on the same roof and within visual sight and voice communication of the other employees.
Low-Pitched Roof
A roof having a slope less than or equal to four in twelve.
Working Within Confines of a Ladder
Defined as an employee maintaining their mind-body area within the ladder side rails.
An Anchorage Point
Must be capable of resisting twice the force created by the fall of a 250 lb. person a distance of six feet and stopped by a lanyard with a built-in shock absorbing device. Anchorage points must be able to withstand a 5,000 pound force.
A Lifeline
A component consisting of a flexible line for connection to anchorages either vertically (vertical lifeline) or horizontally (horizontal lifeline).
For more information regarding this policy, contact Environmental Health and Safety 610-758-4251.

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