Having a fall protection plan in place is an important requirement to have in place onsite. It is a common fact that working from heights is one of the most dangerous activities that are performed on construction sites. It is responsible for taking the lives of many workers. That’s why it is critical to have a fall protection plan in place when working from heights will be performed on a project. 

What is a Fall Protection Plan?

A fall protection plan (FFP) is a prepared document to plan for work being conducted at heights where there is a risk of falling. The definition indicated in The Construction Regulations defines a fall protection plan – as “a documented plan, which included and provides for all risk relating to working from a fall risk position, considering the nature of work undertaken. The procedures and methods to be applied in order to eliminate the risk of falling and a rescue plan and procedures.”

What should be included in a Fall Protection Plan?

Risk Assessment

The risk assessment must indicate and identify all work carried out from a fall risk position and the methods used to address the risks per location. This would include the method of accessing such an area, the equipment, training and rescue procedures should also be identified. Based on the site inspection and collected information specified, a risk assessment must be developed. 

Employee Medical Assessment

All construction workers must have a valid medical fitness certificate for working at heights and all these records must be kept on-site. The medical inspection includes the following: inspection of any chronic illness such as high blood pressure, hypertension, heart disease and others. An employee must be medically fit to perform work with these harsh conditions, as it could cause a fatality should a worker not meet the criteria. 


Any employee that will perform duties for a fall risk position must complete a training program and the site must keep records of the training conducted. Knowledge is power and an educated employee will have the knowledge to identify or avoid a potential fall hazard. 


A process for inspecting all equipment must be identified. The following must be included; inspection, testing and maintenance of all fall protection equipment that will be used on site. 

Rescue Plan

A rescue plan is arguably the second most important section to have in place within a fall protection plan. As it provides the necessary information and steps to follow when a person has fallen during work performed. A detailed rescue plan identifies the procedure to follow when a fall risk occurs. This will include the personnel and suitable equipment that must be used. It is required that the plan be implemented immediately following the incident. 

Other Requirements

A fall protection plan must be created and developed by a competent person; the plan must stipulate in a paragraph format the implementation of the plan. The plan must be updated with any amendments made when necessary and steps must be taken to ensure that all working on-site adhere to the plan or any changes made. It is also required that the construction manager must have the most recently updated copy of the plan on hand.  

According to the hierarchy of controls, the first choice would be to eliminate the risk, however, it is not always possible to do so especially when working at heights. Therefore, it is important to plan for this risk, as it is better to have a plan in place than to have none.

Our Services

Cairnmead Industrial Consultants are dedicated to driving knowledge, understanding and solutions through simplicity. Therefore, we have a highly trained and experienced team that assists all our clients with the necessary information to avoid any incidents from occurring on-site. 

Contact us to find out more:

Christof Lourens

CEO Cairnmead Industrial Consultants (Pty) Ltd

Tel: 012 346 5752 | Email: christof@cairnmead.co.za

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