Fall Protection: Meeting the USACE’s Requirements

Anyone who has worked at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project understands how much emphasis the corps places on safety. Fall protection offers a great example.

Central to this effort are the specific training and retraining requirements for fall protection users, competent persons, and qualified persons. For example, beginning at the end of May, 2016, anyone serving as a fall protection competent person on a USACE project needs to have completed a 24-hour course and this course must include both classroom and practical, hands-on training. This training must reflect a variety of ANSI standards.

If you, or someone in your organization, would benefit from this level of training, we are offering the 24-hour class within the next few weeks. The first two-days will be held in Boardman, Oregon (April 19-20, 2016) with the practical portion taking place at the Fire Training Center in Kennewick, Washington on April 21, 2016. Details can be found here.

While our two-day Fall Protection Competent Person class has been well-received by USACE managers and contractors over the years, we are looking forward to enhancing our program by adding the optional third day of training.

A student learns how to perform a 'Foot Wrap' as a means of reducing suspension trauma while hanging in a fall arrest harness.

A student learns how to perform a 'Foot Wrap' as a means of reducing suspension trauma while hanging in a fall arrest harness.

So what will be covered in the hands-on portion?

We have designed the class to focus on the following:

  • Basic climbing techniques: We will analyze how to properly ascend ladders and structures such as gates which may have characteristics similar to ladders.
  • Proper use of Y-lanyards: Maintaining 100% tie-off with fixed or self-retracting Y-lanyards is the goal, however achieving this requires some degree of practice. The Fire Training Center has a number of structures that will be used for this exercise.
  • Rigging Vertical Lifelines: Useful for providing fall protection on ladders and partially-erected scaffolds, vertical lifelines provide a relatively easy method to protect workers while maintaining their mobility.
  • Abrasion and Friction Management: Fall protection systems often rely on software (nylon or polyester webbing) connected in some fashion to an anchor which is generally embedded in steel or concrete. Based on the worker's motion, abrasion and friction can chafe and otherwise degrade this software. In class we will rig a series of anchors and demonstrate means of managing abrasion.
  • Analyzing Non-certified Anchors: An engineered anchor attached to structure that has been evaluated by a qualified person always provides the best protection, but this is not always feasible. This learning activity will help competent persons evaluate the integrity of other types of anchors and how to ensure that workers use them properly.
  • Rigging Fall Restraint Systems: These exercises will include evaluating a number of walking-working surfaces and designing and rigging fall restraint tethers that allow workers to complete their tasks without exposure to falls.
  • Suspension Trauma Prevention Exercises: Harnesses used on USACE facilities need to be equipped with suspension trauma straps. We will review the use of those devices and look at other ways of addressing the physiological effects of suspension.
  • Rescue Techniques and Procedures: Whenever fall arrest systems are used, the competent person must have a rescue plan in place. We will look at a number of rescue scenarios and develop pre-plans that can be used to lower a worker who cannot self-rescue. We will then practice one or more of these rescue procedures.

Do all USACE contractors need this level of training?

In general, we believe the answer would be 'yes' however ultimately the answer would be based on the work activities being performed at the project and the resulting fall hazards. If a contractor, for example, was only using a scissors-lift then the project's management might not require a competent person on site who has this level of training. But the final say lies with the safety management at your project.

Can a student who has already completed D2000's two-day Fall Protection Competent Person attend the one-day hands-on clinic?

There is no requirement that the 24-hour class be completed at one time, so if you have taken the two-day within last year or so you should be abe to meet the requirement by attending the hands-on clinic.

Can people other than USACE personnel and contractors attend the hands-on clinic?


Thanks you for your continued interest in D2000 Safety's offering and please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Jim Johnson March 29, 2016

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