Hemco Industries

What’s the Difference in Fall Protection and Fall Prevention?

It never fails, every year slips, trips, and falls continue to be one of the most important safety issues and topics discussed within the industrial sector. Industrial workplace environments have seen over 110 million onsite accidents with the most common of those accidents and injuries pertaining directly to slips, trips, and falls. In an effort to decrease these type of accidents there are various solutions that can help companies avoid falls in the workplace. When determining which solution works best to truly encompass complete safety we recommend utilizing a few options to there fullest potential and incorporating both fall prevention and fall protection into your safe access plan.

While these systems might sound similar or like the same exact thing, they do have a differences. So, if you’re asking yourself what the differences are between fall prevention and fall protection we hope we can help answer that for you in the below post. 

Fall protection and fall prevention systems are important solutions that every facility must have in place in order to avoid and effectively protect their employees from slips, trips and falls. While these two systems can work in unison, they are slightly different in the way they react and protect your operators and employees. 

Fall Prevention Solutions

Fall prevention equipment leans more towards the proactive fall arrest solutions. A proactive safety solution is one that’s focused on preventing a fall from occurring before it ever begins. 

One example of a fall prevention system would be a Gangway. Safe access gangways are designed to assist operators when they’re accessing the tops of railcars and/or tanker trucks, and the systems include slip resistant treaded walkways as well as handrails or crossbars so that the operator are completely secure on all sides while accessing hatches to load and unload whatever material is being transported.

Truck Loading Ramp | Truck Hydraulic Loading | Loading Platform | Fall Prevention

You can also add a fall prevention safety cage to a gangway which covers the perimeter around the truck or railcar hatch, this gives an additional preventive measure in protecting your operators who are working in or around the hatch atop a railcar or tanker truck. 

Safe access platforms and loading racks are another form of fall prevention, these should always include non-slip tread on all walking surfaces and be built with sturdy and easily accessible handrails or crossbars located on each side. Industrial safety gates and gangways then can be added to close off or add access points around any openings throughout the perimeter of the loading platform. 

So as you can tell from the above examples, fall prevention systems include the installation of equipment like gangways, safety cages and loading platforms which are designed to help prevent any slips, trips, and the consequent falls from ever occurring.

Fall Protection Solutions

Fall protection doesn’t necessarily prevent a fall from occurring but rather acts in a more reactive manner and as a backup in the event that a fall does occur.

Rigid Lifelines Fall Protection | Harness | Lanyard

While gangways and safe access platforms help to avoid falls all together, equipment such as harnesses, cables and lanyards are used as fall protection and act as a backup in case an operator does fall. A fall protection system aids in catching an operator once a slip, trip or fall does occur; these solutions act as a safety net. 

Fall Prevention or Fall Protection? 

In order to maximize your facilities safe access solutions, it’s best to put a fall prevention plan in place that also encompasses fall protection. It’s impossible to completely avoid all slips, trips, and falls. Nobody can guarantee accidents won’t occur, and that’s why we recommend adding fall protection in with your fall prevention system. It’s important to add the proactive fall arrest solutions with the reactive fall protection equipment as a complete system that works in unison.

By developing a complete fall prevention and fall protection plan you are attacking the issue at its core, you’re helping to avoid the possibility of a fall from ever occurring, but also adding an extra layer of safety in the event that a fall does take place.

An example of a complete system might involve implementing something like a gangway which also requires fall protective equipment such has a harnesses be used while the safe access gangway is being operated. In this example the gangway would help avoid a slip, trip, or fall while the harness would help by being a backup incase the operator were to somehow accidentally fall. 

At Hemco we insist that all safety measures are covered with both fall prevention and fall protection. Harnesses and cables are a critical aspect after a fall occurs and will catch the operator and stop their impact with the ground, but why not have a preventive plan in place that closes off the opening from which the fall occurred to begin with?

Fall prevention coupled with fall protection embodies an entire safety solution for your employees.

You can simply speak with one of our safe access professionals today by contacting us online here.