ES&H Manual



6131 Appendix T1

Passive Fall Protection Systems



1.0          Purpose


Passive fall protection systems involve physically isolating the employee from the fall hazard, and do not require the wearing or use of personal fall protection equipment. Passive fall protection systems are preferred whenever possible. This document describes the types and use of passive fall protection systems at Jefferson Lab.

2.0          Scope

Passive fall protection systems are physical barriers that prevent worker exposure to fall hazards. The types of passive systems used at Jefferson Lab include guardrails and covers.  

NOTE: A work control document is not required for use of passive fall protection systems.

This appendix is written in coordination with ES&H Manual Chapter 6131 Fall Protection Systems.

3.0          Responsibilities

NOTE:           Management authority may be delegated to a task qualified Jefferson Lab employee at the discretion of the responsible manager.


3.1           Supervision

·       Ensure that proper passive fall protection is being employed by workers.

·       Ensure walking/working surfaces can support maximum loads.

3.2           ES&H Fall Protection Subject Matter Expert (SME)

·       Provide oversight on the implementation of passive fall protection systems

3.3           Anyone at Jefferson Lab

·       If the integrity or load-bearing capacity of a walking/working surface is questioned, suspend work activity, secure the area, and notify supervision.

·       If the integrity of passive fall protection systems is questioned, or observed to be deficient, suspend work activity, secure the area, notify supervision, and submit a Facilities Management Work Request for evaluation and/or repair.

4.0          Types of Passive Fall Protection

NOTE: Guardrail system and cover requirements are specified in OSHA’s General Industry standard, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart D, Walking-Working Surfaces.

4.1           Guardrail Systems

·       Perimeters of elevated walking/working surfaces, and floor, roof, or wall openings which expose workers to a fall ≥ 4 ft., may be protected by guardrail systems. In addition, these systems may also be used to protect hoist areas, ramps, runways, and stairway openings. 

·       The top railing of a guardrail system shall be 42 inches (+/- 3 inches) above the walking/working surface and capable of withstanding, without failure, a minimum force of 200 lbs. applied in an outward or downward direction.

·       Guardrail systems are required to have midrails, screens, mesh, vertical members, or solid panels, capable of withstanding, without failure, a minimum force of 150 lbs. applied in any outward or downward direction.

·       The maximum opening allowed within a guardrail system (e.g., between balusters, or railings) is 19 inches.

·       Toeboards may be required to protect personnel from falling objects and shall be capable of withstanding a minimum force of 50 lbs. applied in any outward or downward direction. The top of the toeboard must be a minimum of 3 ½ inches above the walking/working surface.

·       When screens or mesh are used to protect against falling material that is stacked or stored above toeboards, the screens/mesh must extend from the walking/working surface to the top rail and along the entire opening.

4.2           Covers

·       Covers protect workers from open holes in floors, roofs, or other walking/working surfaces. They must be secured to prevent accidental displacement.

·       Covers must be capable of supporting, without failure, a minimum of twice the maximum weight of personnel, equipment, and materials imposed upon it at any given time.

·       While covers are removed, temporary guardrail systems may be installed for personnel fall protection.


5.0          Revision Summary


Revision 2.2 – 04/28/2020 – Periodic Review; aligned chapter with 6131, T2, T3 and T4

Revision 2.1 – 06/13/18 – Periodic Review; updated for clarification per TPOC

Revision 2.0 – 12/01/15 – Periodic Review; procedure updated to address action plans resulting from self-assessment

Revision 1.3 – 03/18/15 – Technical POC updated from B.Manzlak to G.Perry per B.Rainey

Revision 1.2 – 10/27/14 – Technical POC updated from N.Walker to current SME B.Manzlak

Revision 1.1 – 12/04/12 – Qualifying periodic review; No substantive changes required

Revision 1.0 – 12/23/09 – Content updated to reflect current laboratory operations











ES&H Division

George Perry





This document is controlled as an on line file.  It may be printed but the print copy is not a controlled document.  It is the user’s responsibility to ensure that the document is the same revision as the current on line file.  This copy was printed on 4/30/2020.