Swing Fall Hazards

 A swing fall is a pendulum-like motion that occurs when a worker moves in a horizontal direction away from a fixed anchorage, and then falls.
While the force generated in a swing fall is the same as the force in a vertical fall, there is a potential hazard of colliding with a structure or equipment.
This hazard exists primarily because in the majority of “real world” situations, there is simply no adequate anchorage available directly above the work location while workers move about to perform their work. 

How to eliminate or minimize its consequences? 

  • Train all workers in proper selection of anchorages for their fall protection systems.
  • Fall protection system needs to be rigged according to Part C-1 and manufacturer’s recommendations for use. Employees need to always be trained before using.
  • Consider using portable anchorages.
  • Evaluate the use of a Horizontal Lifeline.
  • Design the fall protection system in such a way that the swing fall would take the fall victim away from, and not in the direction of, the side objects. 

Washington's Fall Protection Rule


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

  • In what areas are you exposed to a swing fall? 

  • What steps can be taken to reduce or eliminate a swing fall in your area?