NC STATE Home Page NC STATE UNIVERSITY - Environmental Health and Safety 2620 Wolf Village Way Cmpus Box 8007, Raleigh NC 27695  Phone 919.515.7915 FAX 919.515.6307 NC STATE Home Page



OSHA regulations require employers to provide their employees with fall protection when an employee works 6 feet or higher above a floor and there are unprotected sides or edges. Examples of work situations requiring fall protection are: roofs, excavations, holes, hoist area, ramps, runways and other walkways.


Compliance with OSHA 1926.


Departments must ensure employees have proper training and equipment plus ensure their employees use the fall arrest equipment provided.


There are several methods available to meet the standard based on the work situation. Using guardrail, fall arrest systems, a monitor, safety net or warning line system are acceptable methods to achieve compliance. The elements cited are highlights from the standard. You can get more complete criteria by calling Environmental Health & Safety (515-6871).

1. Guard Rails

  • Able to withstand a force of 200 lbs.
  • Are 42" +/-3" above walking/working level
  • Have mid-rails or mesh
  • Has a top rail of 1/4" diameter

2. Fall Arrests

  • Have connector that are corrosion resistant; all edges are smooth
  • Have D-rings and snap hooks tested to a minimum tensile load of 3,600 lbs. without cracking or breaking
  • Have D-rings and snap hooks with a minimum tensile strength of 5,000 lbs.
  • Snap hoods sized to be compatible with the member to which they are connected
  • Snap hooks shall not be engaged
    - Directly to webbing, rope or wire rope
    - To a D-ring to which another snap hood or other connector is attached
    - To a horizontal lifeline
  • Lanyards and vertical lifelines shall have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 lbs.
  • Lifelines shall be protected against being cut or abraded
  • Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards which automatically limit free fall distance to 2 feet or less shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 3,000 lbs.
  • Anchorages for personal fall arrest equipment shall be independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms and capable of supporting at least 5,000 lbs per employee attached.
  • Personal fall arrest shall be inspected prior to each use for wear, damage and other deterioration, and defective components shall be removed from service

    NOTE: Anchorage is the means of attaching the lifeline to some structure holding the system securely. The lifeline is a rope, cable, or shaft held securely by the anchorage, and on which the fall arrester slides. The fall arrester moves freely up or down on the lifeline as long as there is not load on the arrester. As soon as there is a load on the arrestor, the arrester locks onto the lifeline and prevents any downward motion.

3. Safety Monitor
  • Designate a competent person
  • Competent person must recognized fall hazards
  • Must warn employees of fall hazard or when an employee is acting unsafely
  • Must be on the same working surface and have visual contact and be within vocal communication
  • Must not have any other responsibilities while on the job
4. Safety Net
  • Be no more than 30' below level of work
  • Be dropped tested with a 400 lb. bag
  • Have mesh opening not to exceed 36" nor be longer than 6" on any side
  • Have a border rope for webbing with a minimum breaking point of 5,000 lbs.

5. Warning System

  • Made of rope, wire, or chain
  • Place around all sides of roof work area
  • Place not less than 6' from edge


The employer shall train each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall help employees recognize the hazards of falling and the procedure to follow to minimize these hazards.

1. The employer shall assure each employee has training by a competent person qualified in the following areas:

  • The nature of fall hazards in the work area
  • The correct procedures of erecting, maintaining, disassembling and inspecting the fall protection systems used
2. The employer shall document the training.