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ANSI Z359 - Fall Protection Standard

OSHA Best Practices Guide
OSHA Safety Signs Best Practices Guides

Written by Steve Hudgik

Why is fall protection important?

Falls are among the most common causes of serious work related injuries and deaths.

Both OSHA and ANSI have set standards for workplace fall protection. In general, to prevent workers from being injured by a fall, employers must:

  • Guard every floor or roof hole into which a worker can accidentally walk (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).
  • Provide a guard rail and toe-board around every elevated open sided platform, floor or runway.
  • Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat or acid or a conveyor belt) employers must provide guardrails and toe-boards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.
  • Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety and harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and hand rails.

The ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Code

The ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Standard consists of 11 sections, most of which specify the requirements for the design of fall protection equipment. These are:

  • ANSI Z359.1-2007 - This section provides the requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, inspection, use, maintenance and the removal from service of connectors, full body harnesses, lanyards, energy absorbers, anchorage connectors, fall arresters, vertical lifelines, and self-retracting lanyards comprising personnel fall arrest systems for users within the capacity range of 130 to 310 lbs (59 to 140 kg).
  • ANSI Z359.2-2007 - This section is titled “Minimum Requirements for a Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program.” It is the section of ANSI Z359 that specifies the employer requirements. To be compliant, the employer must have a managed fall protection program that includes:
    • Fall protection policies, identification of responsible parties and their duties, and descriptions of the fall protection training.
    • Fall protection procedures.
    • Describe how fall hazards will be eliminated or controlled.
    • Rescue procedures.
    • Fall incident investigation procedures.
    • Evaluating program effectiveness,

What this means is that employers must develop and maintain a written fall protection and rescue procedures for every location where an active fall protection system is used to control a fall hazard.

This includes comprehensive training and on-going evaluation of the fall protection program effectiveness.

ANSI Safety Sign Best Practices Guide

A reference guide to ANSI Z359

The ANSI Z359 Standard includes:

  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.3-2007 - Safety Requirements for Positioning and Travel Restraint Systems. It establishes requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, test methods, and instructions of lanyards and harnesses comprising personal positioning and travel restraint systems.
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.4-2007 - Safety Requirements for Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue Systems, Subsystems and Components
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.6-2009 - Specifications and Design Requirements for Active Fall Protection Systems - Provides the standards for the design, testing and labeling of fall protection connectors.
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.7-2011 - Qualification and Verification Testing of Fall Protection Products
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.12-2009 - Connecting Components for Personal Fall Arrest System.This standard establishes the requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, test methods and removal from service of connectors.
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.13-2009 - Personal Energy Absorbers and Energy Absorbing Lanyards - provides the standards for the design and performance of energy absorbing lanyards.
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.14-2012 - Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices For Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems
  • ANSI/ASSE Z359.1-1992 (R1999) - Historical Document

Does ANSI Z359 Apply To The Construction Industry?

Other fall protection standards apply to the construction industry.

  • OSHA 1926 Subpart M App C
  • ANSI A10.32 Construction Fall Protection

However, OSHA may still reference ANSI Z359 under the General Duty Clause, so it is a good idea for the construction industry to comply with ANSI Z359. In addition, the increased safety of the ANSI Z359 required 3,600-lb. gate strength and the upgrades in the personal energy absorber standards are desirable for improved safety.

Warning signs and labels are an important part of fall protection. They both warn about potential fall hazards and remind employees to be aware of unexpected hazards. If you have a DuraLabel printer in your maintenance shop or safety office, you can make fall protection signs as soon as a fall hazard becomes apparent. DuraLabel custom label printers give you the ability to make any needed sign or label quickly and easily. You'll be getting tough-tested custom safety signs that are resistant to harsh manufacturing environments or suitable for clean room use. Call 1-888-326-9244 today to find out which DuraLabel printer is right for your facility.


The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.

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