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Fall Protection vs. Fall Prevention

Posted by Doug Kotecki on

I thought I'd take some time to share my thoughts on these two similar, but different terms (fall protection and fall prevention) and clear out any discrepancies. Seriously, what's the difference?

Fall Prevention usually comes first. Think about it. When you are engaged in fall prevention you're attempting to keep a fall from occurring. You'd be trying to "prevent a fall." Which makes perfect sense.

You might solve this problem, by eliminating the fall hazard completely, or installing guardrails. In other words, a fall may be technically possible, but you'd have to be extremely negligent for it to happen (which could be quite possible.) We're talking about deliberately jumping over a railing here, that sort of stuff.

Fall Protection, in addition to referring to the overall industry, is more precisely defined as protecting someone if they do fall. The fall potential couldn't be eliminated, but you'll be protected if it does happen.

I hope that makes sense. One prevents falls, the other protects during falls. It's simple, right? I know these two terms are commonly used interchangeably, but in this case, they really shouldn't be.

Making sure everyone's vocabulary is on the same page could save a life. What fall protection terminology trips you up? Let us know and we'll try to straighten it up for you.

  • Tags: Advice, Archives 2009

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