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Fall Protection Training: don’t get left behind

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Fall Protection Training: don’t get left behind

Fall protection and training for is easy to overlook when there’s a job to be done—who has time to strap on a safety harness? You do.

fall protection training
Worker at height with SRL

At Hercules SLR, safety is a priority in all areas of our company. We spoke with some experts around the office about fall protection safety training – think safety harnesses, self-retracting lifelines and anchorage lines. They all agree that equipment alone is not enough – workers must be trained to use it properly. Training should be engaging, hands-on and fun to have workers actually use this equipment.

We want workers and employers alike to be aware of fall protection’s importance and the difference the right training makes. Read on to discover tips from our safety experts that will make you and your employees want to use their fall protection gear.

Fall Protection Training: are you credible?

Credibility is a large aspect of effective training and communication—do you sit behind a desk all day? Do you climb a 12-foot ladder daily? Regardless of the words you say, who you are will effect the message you’re trying to deliver.

“I had a professor in University who was from Poland, and her Family had escaped from the Nazi’s during their reign – her experience gave her credibility when she taught us European history, and even as students it made us pay attention,” remarks Business Development Manager, Consultant and Safety Trainer & Inspector Lou Gould on the difference credibility makes.

Fall Protection Training: know your audience

It’s important to know that while there’s overlap, there are differences among the industrial trades—it’s important to know the differences and not generalize when explaining the importance of fall protection gear.

Says Gould “Once, I was at a meeting where the topic was roof workers safety. The guy who was giving the presentation was an electrician, but was only speaking from his experience. I noticed right away a lot of guys in the room ‘check out’ so to speak, since he wasn’t addressing their specific problems or issues. It’s important to know your audience, especially when you’re trying to get an important point across.”

Experience is a great teacher. He continues, “The classroom is a sharing experience with everyone you’re with. Personally, I am a story-teller, and I’ve found this makes a great environment to learn. Whether it’s a situation you’ve been in or just witnessed, being able to say ‘I’ve seen someone use this before and protect them’ tends to stick in everyone’s head better than reading straight from a text.”

Use industry-specific examples to show how fall protection gear will improve and enhance their daily work. For example, talking to roofers? Mention how slippery roofs become during inclement weather – something your audience relates to.

Fall Protection Training: risk management vs. risk communication

When you reflect on an incident, there are typically thousands of tiny moments that led to that one disaster. All are entirely preventable – nothing is random. However, explaining how a fallen wrench can lead to a fatality isn’t something all trainers can do.

In the safety industry, we talk about risk management all the time, but we never talk about risk communication. Risk communication is the ability to explain the process of an injury, how they can escalate and what is being done to mitigate or in worst-case scenarios, investigate and provide conclusions. In the safety industry, many trainers have extensive knowledge but are don’t deliver it in a way that makes their audience pays attention.

Hercules SLR employee at height with their safety harness

It’s not enough to say “an 8-lb wrench dropped can cause fatal injuries” – which is an approach many trainers take. Hercules SLR trainers know that reading out facts is not enough. It’s much more effective to say “an 8-lb wrench dropped from 200 feet above has 2,833 pounds of force per square inch – which is equal to a Clydesdale horse hitting a 1 square inch area.”

It’s important to explain causation when you emphasize the need for proper PPE equipment and fall protection training. Many workers have the perception that fall protection PPE and training is only essential for “big accidents” – think falls from height or worksite explosions. But the right training emphasizes PPE’s role in daily work.

Causation vs. Big Accidents

Help workers visualize common accidents that occur on worksites and the role causation plays in daily workplace safety. For example, the nursing profession has many different hazards to mitigate. A few factors that contribute are, long shifts, high-stress nature of the job, aggression in the workplace, high emotional environment, poor housekeeping and lifting at awkward angles. The stressors through the day can contribute to injury and low-productivity. Financially, employers and owners can expect to pay much more to repair or replace misused equipment, rather than taking measures to maintain it in the first place.

The proper equipment and training will reduce discomfort caused by misusing PPE & fall protection gear, while reducing worksite injury and accident and improving productivity.

Fall Protection Training: most importantly, make it fun

We hate to break it to you—but if you’re boring no one will listen to you.

Many Hercules SLR students that enroll are actually already certified riggers. Often, they’ll start to work on-site and realize they’re making too many errors, or they enroll in other rigging courses and realize their skill isn’t on par with their peers.

Going forward, a big trend is the transition to a blended-training model. Blended training involves both a practical and classroom/online component, with a focus on engaging, hands-on activities, demonstrations.

Our Aerial Work Platform Training course is a great example of this. We spend 3-4 hours in the classroom and cover theory, and then we operate machines all afternoon. Right now, industry trend is to complete an online module that before the practical, then students come to the facility and complete their final practical test. This gives our trainers more hands-on training with the students and equipment than is available with more traditional training models.

Hercules SLR Training

Hercules SLR offers high-quality safety training and certification courses. We’ll customize courses to fit your workplace’s specific needs, and we’ll provide training on-site or at a Hercules SLR facility.

We don’t just offer safety and fall protection training – we’ll inspect, repair and certify your equipment too. Have your inspection done with Hercules SLR and gain access to our exclusive asset management tool, CertTracker. CertTracker maintains inspection records, gives advance notice of inspection due dates and schedules service times – Consider it your tool for great safety compliance.