Clemson Agricultural Safety

Fall Prevention and Safety – February 2024

Fall Prevention and Safety

When discussing fall prevention and safety, most immediately think of falling from heights. While this is still an important piece to discuss, many people gloss over falls that occur every day on the farm due to slips and trips. The best way to prevent falls is to ensure that proper safety mechanisms are in place and areas remain clear and clutter-free.

Fall Prevention from Heights
The three main types of fall protection from heights are Guardrails, Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS), and Safety Nets. To achieve maximum fall prevention, it is recommended to use a combination of these three.


  • Provide fall protection in the form of fall restraint by not allowing a fall to be experienced.
  • While farms with fewer than 10 non-family employees are exempt from OSHA guidelines, it is still recommended that these guidelines be followed to decrease the risk of a fall.
  • Top Rail – 39 to 45 inches in Construction (42 inches in General Industry)
  • Mid Rail – between the top rail and the surface in Construction (21 inches in General Industry)
  • Toe Board – 3 ½ inches tall in Construction (4 inches in General Industry)
  • Load Rating – Minimum force of 200 pounds in a downward, outward motion

Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS)

Remember the ABCs of PFAS:

  • Anchorage point – Must be independent of any anchor point being used to support platforms and must be able to support at least 5,000 lbs per attached person.
  • Body Harness – Persons must be strapped in with an approved and undamaged harness that will distribute the fall arrest forces over the body.
  • Connector – Connectors used to secure the harness to the anchor point must be strong enough to support the person’s weight and undamaged.

Safety Nets

  • Safety nets work by stopping a person from falling completely to ground level. While they do not prevent a fall, they can reduce injuries sustained during a fall.
  • Must be installed no more than 30 feet below the working level.
  • Can withstand a 400 pound drop test.
  • Must be inspected weekly
  • All objects must be removed from the net every day.

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