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Making changes to your fall protection plan? Be sure to stick to this procedure...

by , 01 October 2013
A fall protection plan is a document that's drafted to help prevent falls and protect employees who work at heights. The plan includes a description of the work to be done (at heights), the hazards associated with the work and how to manage the risks these hazards pose. If you want to make changes to this plan there's a certain procedure you must follow. Read on to find out about this procedure so you can comply.

A fall protection plan is a legal requirement under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.

You could face severe penalties for noncompliance and even have your company shut down!

Let's take a look at the proper procedure you must follow if you make changes to your company's fall protection plan.

Here's how to make changes to your fall protection plan…

You must have a process to make changes to your fall protection plan.

'Nothing's written in blood and you may have to change your way of doing things if you have incidents, accidents, or if changes are made to the work specification for the job,' says the Health&Safety Advisor.

Your process for making changes to your plan must be fool-proof. This means you must make sure you close the loop whenever you make changes. To close the loop is to follow up on or close out an area of discussion.

Here's a list of the things you must do to make sure your changes close the loop.

#1: You must use a checklist whenever you make changes to your plan;

#2: If you change any part of the steps in your plan, always check the other steps so that the changes cover everything in your plan;

#3: Check that all the documents supporting your plan are updated. If you have a procedure, form, or checklist, make sure you check these against your changes and update them accordingly;

#4: Keep a record of all the changes you make so you can prove you've followed the process of change correctly;

#5: Test any change you make before you implement it. Make sure you haven't created another hazard or risk (record the changes of risk assessment);

For example, if you change from a scaffold to a ladder for your employees to get on a roof, you must make sure that using the ladder's as safe, or safer, than using the scaffolding before you make the change. You need to do a risk assessment and record the changes.

#6: Implement the changes and make sure all your employees who need to know about them are informed;

#7: File all documents with changes together in a management of change file; and

#8: If any changes impact on another part of your management system make sure your changes are included in that part of the system.

For instance, if you make changes to your fall protection plan or risk assessment, you must also make the same changes in your health and safety file or system.

Your fall protection plan and your health and safety file or system must never be different from each other.

Well there you have it. Make sure you stick to these guidelines when you make changes to your company's fall protection plan. Not only will this ensure you're complaint with the OHSA, but, it'll also ensure your employees are safe.

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