Update to ANSI Fall Protection Standard to Focus on Training Requirements

Each year hundreds of workers die from falls, the third leading cause of on-the-job deaths in the U.S., often due to the lack of training with fall protection equipment and procedures, and revisions to the American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) fall protection standard will reflect that issue.

The ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Committee met at the American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) headquarters in Des Plaines, Ill., to revise the Z359.1-1992 standard, "Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems," which will include new sections on fall protection training and competency.

Dozens of safety professionals from across the U.S. attended the Z359.1 Committee meeting. The committee is finalizing a new, needed section on a comprehensive managed fall protection program, which covers fall protection training for workers, supervisors, engineers and trainers.

"The revised Z359.1 standard will cover a multitude of fall protection issues from training and fall arrest systems to rescue operations, based off of the need to aid workers in all elements of fall protection," said Jack H. Dobson Jr., CSP, of Cedarburg, Wisc., Z359 Committee chair and ASSE senior vice president. "We hope to finalize the standard by this summer, and to begin work on several new fall-related issues such as anchorage points, horizontal lifelines and rope access, as many accidents occur everyday from these unaddressed issues."

The standard is currently under committee review and will then go to public ballot after full committee approval within the year. The final step in the standards process will be approval by ANSI. ASSE serves as secretariat of the Z359 committee.

"The comprehensive managed fall protection program will help fill in the gaps for corporations; providing them with ways to implement fall protection programs and systems, not just how to use the equipment," said Z359.1 Subcommittee Chair Randy Wingfield, of Bainbridge, Wash.

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