Tired of another toolbox topic?  This one can save your life so listen up and do your homework if you do not know the answers about today’s topic.


Let me tell you a story—

A roofing company hired a young roofer who had construction experience. The employee was directed to finish installing a metal roof that was 80 feet high. The employee put on his fall protection equipment and climbed to the top of the tower.

*Please note: The employee had purchased his own fall protection equipment.


The employee got to the roof area, attached the wrong end of his lifeline to the anchor point. After working for about 2 hours he slipped on the wet metal roof.


He went over the edge quickly, then jerked suddenly to a stop as his shock pack deployed.  As his pelican hook lay flat horizontally on the edge of the roof above, the stamped sheet metal gate slowly bent under the forces being applied to the mechanism, and the eye of the lifeline rolled slowly out of the gate.


He fell 50 feet to the ground below, breaking his back and both legs. Although he survived, his mobility was changed forever.


What contributed to this catastrophic incident?

  1. There was no new hire orientation, no fall protection training or fall protection work plan, and no safety plan.
  2. The employer did not ask the new employee about the fall system that he had purchased and if he understood how to use it properly.
  3. There was no safety meeting prior to work beginning.
  4. There was no competent person to inspect the fall system he had purchased to ensure it was compatible with the other fall protection equipment and system in use on the job.


Not all fall protection systems are interchangeable. When mixing equipment, find out what each company’s requirements are.


Finally, before you are exposed to a fall hazard:

  1. Have a fall protection plan written and established before work begins. This should be done by a competent person
  2. Make sure you are trained in the specific fall protection system you are to wear.
  3. Read, understand, and follow the manufacturers specifications.


Let’s be safe out there!

Download a PDF of this Toolbox Talks