The Evolution of Fall Protection and the Rescue Breakthrough You Should Know About

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ST. PAUL, Minn. – In 1970, there were 38 worker deaths per day in the United States, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. And, in 1970, just days before the New Year, President Richard Nixon signed into law the OSH Act. It became effective the following year, on April 28, and since then it has helped play a large role in reducing worker deaths in the United States to 13 per day, as recorded in 2014.

While most companies know these laws well, as a refresher, OSHA regulations dictate the following:
• OSHA 1926.502(d)(20) for the construction industry: The employer shall provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or shall assure that employees are able to rescue themselves.
• OSHA 1910.66 subpart F section 1(e)(8) for general industry: The employers shall provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or shall assure the self-rescue capability of employees.

There are many elements of workplace health and safety; fall protection is just one piece of a complete system. Steve Kosch, Global Product Manager at 3M Fall Protection (check him out demoing one of our coolest rescue products), and Jim Hutter, Senior Training Specialist for 3M Safety Training, in this article, “How Fall Protection Has Changed Dramatically Over the Decades,” take a look at some of the changes beyond the OSH Act that have helped lead to this marked improvement.

A dramatic change the authors highlight throughout the article is how much rescue from heights – the equipment, the training, and the planning for – have become a major part for of the safety system and process. “Given all we know and the resources available to us, ‘rescue’ today should be viewed as an expected event with a positive outcome.”

To read the article in full, view it on OHS Online Magazine here.