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At the heart of OSHA’s regulations is the fall protection plan. And, OSHA tells us, “The implementation of the fall protection plan shall be under the supervision of a Competent Person” (1926.502(k)(4).

Very simply, a Competent Person must be present at every jobsite.

And what constitutes a Competent Person? They are someone who is given authority by the employer, and who is responsible for and capable of identifying and eliminating existing and predictable fall hazards. A Competent Person, however, cannot just be created out of thin air; they must be trained, tested, and certified to ensure they have a sufficient level of expertise to succeed in their role. And, with our supremely qualified trainers and full range of training classes, F.I.R.S.T can provide whatever training is necessary to get the job started (and finished) safely.

Upon sitting down in a Competent Person training class with F.I.R.S.T, one immediately gets a sense of the wide range of people who have to deal with fall safety on a daily basis.

Most recently, in our Competent Person class on August 24th and 25th, 2013, F.I.R.S.T was happy to host professionals from universities, housing authorities, maintenance crews, safety consultants, and the maritime, aeronautics, construction, and chemical industries, just to name a few.

Guardian Fall Protection employees, too, are occasional members of these classes. While we work with fall protection equipment and safety standards on a daily basis, it is always important to stay as current and informed as possible, and our trainers, Tommy Lee and Doug Boehm, are the perfect people to do the job. Which is why, on a sunny Tuesday morning, both me, Stuart Moore, the Technical Marketing Manager at Guardian, and our Web & Print Marketing Manager, Mike Arcari, sat down to join Doug in his 16-hour, 2-day Competent Person class.

As we both participated and observed the class, two things we both noticed were how varied Doug’s instruction methods were, as well as how he was able to personalize instruction to address the real-world questions and concerns of his students.

And this personalization begins even before the students set foot in his class.

During the sign up process, students are highly encouraged to bring in any and all fall protection equipment that they use on a daily basis, because, as Doug reminded us upon observing people walking in the door with their harnesses and lanyards, F.I.R.S.T’s training classes aren’t about selling our equipment, they are about learning to better use (and teaching others to use) the equipment they have in the field.

And this equipment wasn’t brought in just for show, it was used frequently during instruction on proper donning, use, and inspection. It was even put to the test in our state-of-the-art testing facility when students were hoisted up in the air to experience a little better what it feels like to truly use their fall protection gear.

This personalized approach continued in the classroom as well. A particular question was raised, by a member of a university building maintenance crew, about the best way to access and repair speaker systems mounted on a building roof. The speakers were suspended about 15 feet above the building roof, resulting in a complicated fall protection scenario. Just how, it was asked, is it possible to correctly protect oneself from a fall when no overhead anchor point is present?

Throughout the course of his instruction, Doug frequently returned to this question and offered a variety of potential solutions, ranging from the possibility of the use of electronic lifts, to the danger of using ladders due to the proximity of the roof edge, to the practical approach of simply bringing the speakers down to the working surface as opposed to a worker climbing up to the speakers.

From engaging in real-world scenarios, physically using fall protection equipment, performing hands-on inspections, and participating in in-depth lecture and discussion on the most current OSHA and ANSI standards, the goal of Doug’s Competent Person class is to address best-practice fall protection in as diverse an approach as possible.

Just as there are a vast number of fall protection equipment options, so too are there a vast number of ways people learn and absorb knowledge, and it is Guardian’s mission to ensure all of our training students come away with the tools they need.

We have a Mission Statement at Guardian Fall Protection, which is to “provide innovative solutions and educate the community to protect the workforce and save lives,” and our F.I.R.S.T Choice Training division plays a huge role in achieving it. Above all else, we care about worker safety, and strive every day to eliminate fall related accidents.

To schedule a training class and become a competent person, or for help with any questions relating to fall protection or safety regulations, please contact any of the following Guardian staff members, and we will make sure you get the information you need.

Tommy Lee, Director of Training

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Phone: 1.360.471.0615

Doug Boehm, Training Instructor

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Phone: 1.360.509.2857

Kim Johnson, Technical Support

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Phone: 1.800.466.6385 ext. 146

Stuart Moore, Technical Marketing Manager

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Phone: 1.800.466.6385 ext. 126