Passive and active fall protection are the two main systems when it comes to preventing workers falling from height.
Active fall protection relies on the workers to actively engage with the system. This includes using harnesses, lanyards, and anchors to secure themselves while working at height. This type of system requires ongoing training to ensure employees use the equipment correctly and regularly inspect and maintain it.
Passive fall protection, on the other hand, consists of physical barriers and structures that are put in place to prevent falls. Examples of passive fall protection include guardrails, hatchguards, skylight guards, self-closing gates and covers for holes in the ground. This type of protection does not require worker participation and is always present and ready to prevent falls.
Passive fall protection is generally considered to be the superior option due to its inherent reliability and ease of use. It does not require workers to remember to engage with the system, reducing the risk of human error. Passive protection can also be more cost-effective and have a longer lifespan than active protection systems.
In fact, OSHA recommends the use of passive fall protection wherever possible. OSHA prefers passive protection because it eliminates the potential for worker error and is generally more reliable.
Please contact the safety experts to discuss which system will work best for your company.