What’s the difference between Fall Protection and Dropped Object Prevention?

Not only is there a big difference between Protection and Prevention, these 2 categories are at opposite ends of the safety spectrum.

Fall protection focuses on the individual worker and is part their PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Fall protection generally includes a harness, single or dual lanyard and anchor, and may also be used in conjunction with additional lifelines (vertical or horizontal) or anchor beams. The goal of fall protection is to ensure the worker is not seriously harmed by a fall or a protective measure.

Dropped Object Prevention (D.O.P.) is much younger than fall protection. Unlike fall protection, which is focused on the safety of the worker wearing the gear, D.O.P. is focused on everyone else below the worker who is wearing the gear. D.O.P. generally consists of tool tethers, tool attachments and anchors. Wearing D.O.P. is a selfless act with the sole intent to protect others, not one’s self. It’s not PPE, it’s DSE (Drop Safety Equipment). The goal of dropped object prevention is to prevent the tool from dropping in the 1st place instead of “protecting” the workers below with barriers, netting or other means of injury prevention.

It's not uncommon for D.O.P. to be referred to as “Fall Protection for Tools”. Think about that name, if fall protection for people is designed to prevent harm to the person wearing the gear, what is fall protection for tools designed to protect?

So, next time you put on your PPE, think about where you’re working and if you need to add in your DSE and protect those below you.

REMEMBER: Safety is not a competitive advantage. Only together can we all work safely.

***Note: Legal says we must include the following statement. DSE and other equipment designed for tools is NOT to be used for human fall protection. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions on the use, inspection and care of all Fall Protection and Dropped Object Prevention devices. *** Now get out there and safely get the job done!

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