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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

It’s amazing what words can do. Words are what allow us to have society and culture, to make discourse, and to analyze subtleties. They give meaning to what would otherwise be a dramatically different, and much more silent, world. Words can also sometimes be confusing, complicated, or inexact. There are few things more frustrating than having an idea to express, but being unable to find the perfect words to do so. But when using the right words can affect someone’s safety, they take on a whole new level of importance. For example, let’s compare two of the most prevalent words in the fall safety industry, ‘prevention’ and ‘protection.’ 

If one protects another from harm, are they also not preventing harm to befall upon that person? And conversely, if one prevents another from receiving harm, are they not also protecting them from that harm? On both accounts, the answer appears to be a simple,‘yes’. So,why should we have two ways to express just one idea? What exactly is the difference between these two words?Well, like it so often is, the death is in the details, and in the world of fall safety, ‘death’ is by no means a metaphor.

While the terms ‘fall prevention’ and ‘fall protection’ may at first seem interchangeable, we at Guardian Fall Protection know that they are in fact very different. While the end goal, the ultimate safety of a worker, is the same, how that safety is achieved, is not.

It may initially sound odd, but ensuring worker safety in the event of a fall is not the first goal of fall safety. The singularly best result of any fall safety scenario is for a fall to never occur in the first place. If a fall is prevented, a worker experiences no harm because the fall hazard is eliminated before they could ever be exposed to it. If a worker is protected from a fall, however, they are still potentially being subjected to the damaging forces resulting from the arrest of that fall. And they risk experiencing additional harm due to the consequences of suspension related trauma. All of this is not, of course, to say that fall protection equipment is unimportant; it is vital to saving the lives of workers who are exposed to fall hazards. But, if those fall hazards can in any way be removed in a manner that allows all necessary work to be completed, then that is always the best option.

Because of the importance we place on total worker safety, Guardian has a full range of fall prevention and fall protection safety equipment in our arsenal. But, because we understand the effect that can be made by the proper employment of fall prevention equipment, we have been working hard to make it even easier for our customers to get exactly the equipment they need.

Guardrails are perhaps the most common and most effective forms of fall prevention equipment. Once installed, guardrails function to block workers from reaching the leading edges of fall hazards, thereby allowing work to continue without the risk of potential falls, and without the need for any other forms of fall safety equipment. Guardian offers a wide variety of guardrail systems, and all the information required to ensure that our systems are installed and employed correctly.

The Guardian G-rail and the Goose Single Stanchion are just two of the numerous equipment options available from Guardian. First, the G-rail, our supremely durable, versatile, and best-selling guardrail system. The Guardian G-rail is easy for just one worker to install, is compatible with all Guardian base plate options, and can be purchased in 6’, 8’, 10’, and 12' lengths. The G-rail is the perfect guardrail option for flush roof and open wall applications, and will hold up to the harshest weather conditions.

Sometimes, however, it is necessary to set up fall prevention equipment as quickly as possible, while also demarcating areas as hazardous and inaccessible, which is the perfect application for warning lines. The Guardian Goose Single Stanchion is perhaps the easiest warning line stanchion to install on the market; each stanchion weighs less than 20 pounds, is reusable, features spring-loaded legs that make it easy to setup and remove, and easily connects to various warning and flag lines.

But what about areas on the job site that make it difficult or impossible for traditional guardrail systems to be used? Have no fear, Guardian has our customers covered. Whether guardrail systems are needed on parapet walls, sheer walls, incomplete staircases, or angled roofs, we have the equipment to get the job done. And, if there happens to be an application that our fall prevention equipment is not suited for, then our customers can contact our Engineered Services Group (ESG) to design a custom system that will precisely meet their needs.

Words, truly, are wonderful things, especially when they function to keep people safe.But what if one of the most talented wordsmiths in history, William Shakespeare, was alive today, and just so happened to work for us here at Guardian? Could he help us improve worker safety even more? It would at least be pretty safe to assume that one of his most famous plays, Hamlet, would have gone a bit differently. “To prevent, or protect, that is the question…” may have been the query voiced by Shakespeare’s famous prince. But luckily for Hamlet (relatively speaking), he would have a Guardian employee watching out for him, and would be safe from falling from high up on his castle walls. Because, even though Hamlet might be uncertain about the differences between fall prevention and fall protection, Shakespeare would most assuredly have installed some guardrails.