Fall Protection

Falls are the most frequent cause of fatalities in construction and annually account for one of every three construction-related deaths. Fall protection trigger heights will vary depending on the task being performed. The “trigger height” is the minimum height at which fall protection is required. Know the trigger heights for your work and use fall protection as required. 

Fall protection Required Regardless of Height

WAC 296-155-24607 

  • Open sided floors, walkways, platforms, or runways above or adjacent to dangerous equipment. 
  • Floor holes or floor openings into which persons can accidentally walk. 
  • Falls into or onto impalement hazards, such as reinforcing steel (rebar), or exposed steel or wood stakes used to set forms. 
  • Working from boom supported elevated work platforms. WAC 296-869-20045 
  • Working in confined spaces. WAC 296-809-60004 

Fall Protection at Four Feet or More

WAC 296-155-24609 

  • When employees are exposed to fall hazards of four feet or more to the ground or lower level when on a walking/working surface. 
  • Walking/working surface is any area whose dimensions are 45 inches or greater in all directions, through which workers pass or conduct work. 
  • When employees are using stilts 
  • Where employees are working on platforms above the protection of a guardrail system, 
  • While placing or tying reinforcing steel on a vertical face. 
  • While working on a roof with a pitch greater than four in twelve (4:12) 
  • While engaged in work, other than roofing work or leading edge work, on low pitched roofs 
  • While working on a hazardous slope 

Fall Protection at Ten Feet or More

  • WAC 296-155-24611 
  • Engaged in roofing work on a low pitched roof (4:12 or less) 
  • Constructing a leading edge. 
  • Working on any surface that does not meet the definition of a walking/working surface 
  • Engaged in excavation and trenching operations. 
  • Working on scaffolding WAC 296-874-20052 

Understanding the type of work, the working surface, the fall distance and trigger heights will help in the selection of the right fall protection system. 

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.


 Questions for Discussion

  • What fall hazards exist in your work area? 
  • Are workers in the area effectively protected from the fall hazards?