Roofing Law

The Difference Between Active and Passive Fall Protection featured image

The Difference Between Active and Passive Fall Protection

Roofing contractors understand the importance of having a fall protection plan, both for OSHA compliance and for the safety of their workers. To minimize the impact of fall hazards, these plans all call for the installation of a fall prevention or fall arrest device. While that is the most commonly understood categories of fall protection devices, there are others to consider.

Active vs. Passive Fall Protection

Based on their functionality, there are two types of fall protection devices: active and passive. While it’s natural to think that an active device is better than a passive one, that’s not necessarily true. The need for an active fall protection device over a passive one has more to do with situational needs and the work that’s being done.

Active Fall Protection: An active fall protection device is one that requires human engagement in order to work properly. These systems have specific equipment that must be installed correctly for the system to keep the worker safe. Active fall protection systems usually have lanyards and anchor points.

Examples of active fall protection include:

  • Personal fall arrest systems
  • Overhead rigid rail fall protection
  • Life lines

Passive Fall Protection: On the other hand, passive fall protection devices do not need human interaction in order to do its job. These devices simply stand in place in order to minimize the impact of a fall hazard.

Examples of passive fall protection include:

  • Guardrails
  • Safety nets
  • Barricades

It’s important to note that passive devices are usually employed in more stable, unchanging work areas. Active devices tend to be used in areas that change often, such as a construction sites. Whatever device you use, the importance of having a fall protection program can’t be expressed enough. Not only will it keep your work site compliant, it can minimize the risk of injury.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.