Fall Protection, Personnel Safety

5 Tips to Improve Your Fall Protection Training Program

Fall protection programs are anything but static. They must constantly adjust and adapt when new hazards arise in the workplace, OSHA requirements or ANSI guidelines are released, or to integrate modern technology to keep workers safe. Whenever the program changes, new training or retraining must occur for authorized users in the organization. Attendance at these trainings is half the battle while ensuring users understand the training and will comply with the program is the other half. This article will share five tips on improving your fall protection trainings and increasing user compliance. 

1. Make it relevant 

While the risks associated with working at heights might seem obvious, complacent workers can often become desensitized to the hazards they are exposed to daily. If your organization has experienced fall incidents in the past, reviewing the details of those incidents can help employees avoid making the same mistakes in the future. It can also be helpful to share occupational injury and fatality statistics with fall protection users so they can be more aware of the dangers they will face while performing their job. Sources like The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) can offer resources to help pull this data to incorporate into training sessions. 

For example, sharing that falls are a leading cause of injury and fatality in the workplace can alert people to their exposed risk factor if they are not already aware. Also, fall protection violations are consistently at the top of OSHA’s Top 10 Citations annual report each year. Employees that do their best to follow safety procedures help keep themselves safe and support the organization’s efforts in protecting workers. Knowledge is power, and it can save lives too. 

2. Make it regular 

Consistency is key to success for almost anything in life and fall protection training is no exception. OSHA requires initial onboarding training when new hires join the company and before they begin using fall protection. However, OSHA also requires employers to retrain employees when changes in the workplace make previous trainings obsolete or if there is a gap in understanding of the employee’s capability to comply with the fall protection program. 

In many industries, it is common for companies to conduct weekly or daily “huddle” trainings at the beginning of shifts. (In the construction industry, these are often referred to as “toolbox talks.”) These mini-trainings can cover various safety topics, reflect on recent incidents or near-misses, or simply reiterate and reinforce existing safety procedures. They provide a great opportunity for employees to ensure knowledge retention and provide a consistent time to address safety questions or concerns. 

3. Make it specific 

Another way to enhance a training program is to tailor the training materials for the audience specifically. Too often, safety training is conducted by reading a generic cut sheet or borrowing a PowerPoint presentation from a third party. While valuable information is typically shared, workers want to learn how to work safely in their specific duties or environments. Workers might have difficulty applying safety principles to their daily tasks if they feel the training material is too generic. 

Highlighting safe work practices in front of peers and rewarding employees with a public “kudos” during training is one way to reinforce safety procedures while positively encouraging employees to do the right thing. Remember, employees working safely is not only good for their individual health and well-being but also good for the company’s bottom line. Having safer workers means fewer injuries and can equate to less money spent on the costs associated with injuries or fatalities. That money can be spent on further investing in safety or other improvement projects in the workplace. 

4. Establish safety ambassadors 

Like highlighting workers who perform safer working practices during individual training sessions, establishing safety “ambassadors” among crews can also improve training programs. If an employee shows their commitment to working safely and encourages others to do the same, giving them an official role to promote safer work practices among peers can be quite effective. People are more likely to listen to their peers, or, at least, people they believe have a solid understanding of the duties and expectations of their daily tasks. These ambassadors can assist in communicating newly identified hazards to safety leadership and figuring out ways to implement changes to procedures in ways that are more likely to be adopted by their peers.  

Establishing safety ambassadors also reinforces the fact that everyone is a member of the safety team, not just those who hold official safety positions in the organization. Many organizations struggle with a strange dynamic between those in safety and those in production, but a safety ambassador can effectively bridge that gap. 

5. Rotate trainers 

Another way to improve the effectiveness of safety training is to vary the trainer from time to time. Fall protection training must always be delivered by someone qualified to provide the training, but it does not necessarily have to be the same person each time. Many organizations rotate trainers among people in their safety department, because every trainer has unique experiences to offer in training sessions. 

Additionally, inviting guest speakers can help make trainings feel new, exciting, and refreshing. Often, fall protection equipment manufacturers will offer complimentary trainings for customers to provide further insight into the products being used by an organization and can educate workers on best practices. Manufacturer-specific training sessions can also help ensure manufacturer instructions are being followed by users, which is an OSHA requirement. 


Employee training is the cornerstone of a robust fall protection program. It can be challenging for an organization to deliver training to employees in a well-received manner and promote user compliance. However, many resources are available to assist your efforts in enhancing your training program. Companies like Diversified Fall Protection believe continuing education is the key to increasing a fall protection program’s effectiveness and are happy to help. In the safety industry, we must always pursue methods that will help educate workers on hazards and ways to mitigate them. Every worker deserves the chance to go home after their shift, and proper training is one of the best ways to give them that chance. 

Philip Jacklin is Continuing Education Program Manager for Diversified Fall Protection. He is an AIA continuing ed provider, QSSP & OSHA-30 certified, and has been a partner to the fall protection industry since 2018.


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