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Introduction to Fall Protection Equipment Specifications

Jul 23, 2013 1:26:40 PM

DFP specializes in the design, manufacture, and installation of engineered fall protection systems designed to keep maintenance personnel and contractors safe while working at heights.  Our job is to make sure everyone goes home safely at the end of each work day, which means matching the right engineered system with the application, and making sure personnel are trained on the proper use of your fall protection equipment.  In new construction and bid projects, fall protection system specifications are at the heart of this process, but these documents can often raise as many questions as they answer.

One of the biggest problems we see with fall protection specs is the catch-all, or padded fall protection specification that covers every gamut of fall protection.  Although one might think a universal fall protection specification is a good thing, the catch-all approach that utilizes a large amount of information that does not apply to a specific application leads to confusion, wasted time, and additional expense to the client during the bid process. 

To drive this point home, we recently got a call from a confused GC charged with the installation of a horizontal lifeline for a rooftop fall protection application.  The specifications made reference to a horizontal lifeline AND a low profile, rigid track fall protection system.  The drawings showed placement of the HLL system but the rigid track system was nowhere to be found.  It is important to remember that the specs always trump the drawings—and when specs include fall protection systems that are not included in the drawings or were never intended to be a part of the project, confusion and uncertainty reign.  Unfortunately, we see this scenario playing out all too often.  A padded specification built using a cut-and-paste approach is a time waster.  The GC is forced to call a fall protection company for clarification—the accuracy of their bid depends on this extra step.  The key to developing a good fall protection specification is creating a document that is SPECIFIC to the immediate task at hand—this is why working from catch-all, universal fall protection specifications is a bad idea. 

In an attempt to address this situation, we are in the process of publishing all of our fall protection specifications to our website.   Each document will be application and system specific, meaning that each section of the specification will address a particular fall protection scenario.  By way of introduction, the first four specs we are including in our resource library address horizontal lifelines, rooftop horizontal lifelines, rigid track systems and rooftop rigid track systems.  In the next few weeks, we plan to post all of our fall protection specifications to our resource library in the hopes that this information will be of assistance to architects, engineers, and GC’s.  Providing clear concise specs in the bid documents will reduce the number of RFI’s (request for information).  This will in turn reduce the number of bid extensions requested helping to keep projects on time and on budget  Application specific fall protection specifications are helpful during each stage of a project, from initial design and bid process to final installation and inspection. 

If you are struggling to make sense of a confusing set of fall protection specifications, or you want to make sure your project is on track during the design phase, contact the fall protection experts at Diversified Fall Protection.  OSHA compliant fall protection isn’t just an important part of what we do—it is the entire focus of our business.   To learn more about our turnkey approach to fall protection, visit us online at or download our white paper on selecting a fall protection company.