While it is obvious that some kind of fall protection system is needed when you are suspended inside of a 30 foot tall storage tank, not every work environment will require a fall protection system to be in place. Here is a list of work environments where fall prevention is required or recommended.
Six Foot Rule: In the construction industry, any time a worker is exposed to the possibility of a six foot or greater fall to a lower surface, OSHA regulations require some form of fall protection to be in place. In general industry, fall protection measures must be instituted for potential falls of four feet or more.
Excessive Grade: Steep surfaces can pose a significant falling hazard on the job site. Workers on grades steeper than a 7:12 pitch should be protected against falls. If the working surface is loose or otherwise unstable, grades shallower than a 7:12 pitch may require some form of fall prevention system.
Narrow Work Surfaces: Narrow work surfaces can create the potential for falls and increase the chances of a fall happening when combined with steep grade and loose surfaces.
The specific kind of fall prevention system will vary depending on the nature of the job environment and the other kinds of equipment in use at the site. A careful assessment of the work area is required to provide the best combination of safety equipment for workers.