Part 3: Training and Evaluation: Minimum Requirements for a Managed Fall Protection Program

Training and evaluations are an essential part of a comprehensive managed fall protection program, especially considering the overall importance of safety and proper training in the workplace. We know, from the American National Standard (ANSI/ASSE Z359.2-2007), that there are a total of nine defined personnel in a comprehensive managed fall protection program.

Last week we discussed the minimum personnel requirements for a managed fall protection program. In keeping with that theme, employers have a lot of duties and responsibilities when it comes to at-height workers. Part three of this four-part series covers the overall general requirements for training and evaluating personnel. If you missed the first two parts of the series, click here for part one (Employer's Duties & Responsibilities) or here for part two (Personnel Duties & Responsibilities)

According to the National Standard, “Training for fall protection and rescue at elevated locations shall conform to ANSI/ASSE Z490.1, Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training.” That’s because ANSI/ASSE Z490.1 contains substantial and detailed criteria for developing, delivering, evaluating, and managing safety training programs. Even so, ANSI Z359.2-2007 does cover the general requirements for personnel training and evaluations.

To start, the National Standard tells us that the next step in meeting the minimum requirements for a managed fall protection program is that trainers should develop a fall protection training guide, specific to all previously identified fall hazards. The training guide should include:

  • Training outline and timeline
  • Learning objectives
  • Pre-requisites (if any)
  • Required training aids (manuals, equipment, audio/visual, physical environment)
  • Student to instructor ratio
  • Methods of evaluation
  • Minimum performance requirements of students

Furthermore, it’s essential that all components and methods used for fall protection and rescue training meet applicable legislation, standards, building codes, and acceptable engineering practices. The training and evaluations for fall protection and rescue must be documented and retained for any current or previous training program. This documentation should include at least the following information:

  • Trainer or Evaluator’s name
  • Student’s name
  • Training or evaluating organization’s name (if services are provided by an external organization)
  • Dates and times of training or evaluations
  • Course objectives and content of education program
  • Student performance

With that being said, let’s look at the specified training and evaluations that are standard to personnel involved in a comprehensive managed fall protection plan.

Program Administrator:

Training for the program administrator should be conducted by a competent person trainer or a qualified person trainer. He or she should be trained to have a working knowledge of current fall protection regulations, standards, fall protection equipment, and systems. All training should cover any skills required by the program administrator, which you can read more about in last week’s blog. The frequency and duration of the program administrator’s training varies depending on the amount and type of work for which he or she is responsible. Program administrators should continue their fall protection and rescue education; in fact, it is recommended that program administrators accumulate .08 approved Continuing Education Units every year relating to fall protection and rescue. (International Association for Continuing Education and Training approved Continuing Education Units)

Qualified Person Training:

Because fall protection is an evolving field, a qualified person must receive ongoing training.
A qualified person should be trained by a qualified person trainer in the proper inspection, assembly, and use of fall protection equipment. In addition to the training and qualifications required in this standard, qualified persons may be required by jurisdictional licensing authorities to be licensed as a professional engineer. According to the National Standard, “The frequency and duration of training that a qualified person requires to remain proficient in that role varies with the amount and types of fall protection work for which that person is responsible.”

Under this standard, qualified persons are responsible for performing a number of duties and responsibilities that are critical to the life and health of other employees such as specifying fall protection systems and equipment, calculating clearance requirements, analyzing structures, and verifying that fall protection systems are properly installed. In addition, this standard requires the qualified person to have a working knowledge of current fall protection regulations, standards, equipment, and systems.

Competent Person Training:

Competent person training requires a competent person trainer or a qualified person trainer. Training for competent persons should include physical demonstrations by trainees on how to properly select, inspect, anchor, assemble, and use the fall protection equipment in their workplace. Competent persons should demonstrate a working knowledge of fall arrest equipment and procedures through practical hands-on demonstrations. Competent training should also include the use of a variety of equipment and systems in the facility where the authorized persons works. This includes inspecting systems prior to use, installation, component compatibility, estimating free fall distances, total required clearance, dismantling, storage, and the common hazards associated.

Competent person update training should be conducted every two years to stay current
with the fall protection and rescue educational industry requirements or when new fall hazards are encountered or new fall protection systems installed.

Competent Rescuer Education and Training:

Competent rescuers should be trained by a competent rescue trainer. Training for competent rescuers should include a working knowledge of personal fall arrest and rescue equipment, along with procedures through a practical hands-on demonstration. It should include the use of multiple types of systems and equipment in locations where rescues may be required, including inspecting systems prior to use, installation, component compatibility, descent control, secondary systems, packaging methods, dismantling, storage, and common hazards associated with each system and component. Competent rescuers should have the same level of knowledge as a competent person, but they should also have the ability to assess fall hazards and develop the best possible rescue methods. Competent rescuers should be familiar with rescue methods and make efforts to eliminate the need for rescue using fall restraint or passive fall protection methods. Competent person training should be conducted yearly.

Authorized Person Training:

Every authorized person must receive training from a competent person trainer or qualified
person trainer before they are exposed to a fall hazard. If the nature of the work, the workplace itself, or the methods of control change, the authorized person must be retrained. Retraining is also required when it becomes apparent to their competent person that the authorized person does not have the required level of skill and knowledge or is not following the required means and methods. Training is the responsibility of the employer, and the frequency and duration of the training that an authorized person requires varies with the number and types of fall protection used. Training for authorized persons should include physical demonstrations by trainees on how to inspect, anchor, assemble, and use fall protection equipment. Authorized person update training should be completed every two years to stay current with fall protection and rescue educational requirements, and the evaluation of an authorized person should be performed by a competent person, qualified person trainer, or competent person trainer.

Authorized Rescuer Training:

Authorized rescuers must receive training from a competent rescuer trainer before they are exposed to a fall hazard or a potential rescue application. If the nature of the work, the workplace itself, or the methods of control change, the authorized rescuer must be retrained.  Retraining is also required when it becomes apparent to the competent rescuer that the authorized rescuer does not have the required level of skill and knowledge or is not following the required means and methods. Training for authorized rescuers should include physical demonstrations by trainees on how to inspect, anchor, assemble, and use the fall protection systems in their workplace.

Training for Qualified Person Trainers, Competent Person Trainers, and Competent Rescue Trainers:

Trainers should have documented experience, proficient knowledge, training, and education equal to or greater than any category of person they are training. Trainers must continue their fall protection and rescue education, and the National Standard recommends that qualified person trainers, competent person trainers, and competent rescue trainers accumulate 1.6 approved Continuing Education Units every year relating to fall protection and rescue. (International Association for Continuing Education and Training approved Continuing Education Units)

For additional information, including lists of training materials for each type of personnel, please visit ANSI/ASSE Z359.2-2007 American National Standard; and, for an in-depth look at training and evaluation, you can check ANSI/ASSE Z490.1, Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training.

Citations:

ANSI/ASSE Z359.2-2007 American National Standard
ANSI/ASSE Z490.1 Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training


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Kristina Harman

Senior Technical Writer | Rigidlifelines.com
Kristina Harman was formerly a senior technical writer and content manager for Rigid Lifelines, a division of Spanco, Inc. Kristina has twelve years of experience in content development, technical communications, and copyediting. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in English from Towson University and a Master of Education Certification in English from Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the Society for Technical Communication and the American Medical Writers Association.