A Simple Plan: Gear

A Simple Plan: Gear

How to Ensure Proper Usage of Fall Protection Systems

Fall protection covers, but is not restricted to, wire rope rails, solid rails and even travel restraints (harnesses with lanyards that stop you from reaching the edge from where you might fall). Fall arrest is what workers usually mean when they say “tied-off – you have a harness, a lanyard, and an anchor point.

Correct Harness Usage

The first thing that should be done when putting on a harness is to examine it. Check for signs of wear and tear on every strap, plastic fitting, grommet and buckle. Find out as well when the harness was last inspected (this bit of information is usually found in the tag). If you feel absolutely sure that the harness is good for use, then put it on and adjust as necessary (not so loose, not so tight). Make sure all the ends of your straps are well tucked into their fasteners – anything that hangs around might loosen entirely or get caught in something.

Correct Lanyard Use

When deciding on a lanyard you have to ask one basic question: what is the distance between my anchor point and the lower level? Now check if it is attached correctly. If you have a deceleration device on your lanyard, it should be securely attached to your D-ring to ensure correct deployment. If you’re using a retractable, the casing has to be attached to the anchor point. A lanyard that looks like a bungee cord will be worn either way.

Proper Anchor Point

According to the OSHA, anchorages used in personal fall arrest equipment should be able to support at least 5,000 pounds per attached person. Except when using an engineered anchor point or structural steel (as on a fall protection device, for instance), you should know that the anchor point is adequate. Definitely, this must be done only by a registered professional engineer. When it comes to safety, it’s always all or nothing. And if you want to be safe all the way, you should only trust certified experts.

Proper Fall Clearance

On top of that, your anchor point has to restrict your free-fall distance to a mere 6 feet or less. Scenario: you’re tied up at the feet with a 6-foot lanyard that comes with a deceleration device. You have to freefall beyond 10 feet before that deceleration device works (6 feet for the lanyard and 4 feet from your feet to the D-ring). These forces can cause serious, if not fatal, damage to the body’s internal organs. In other words, the anchor point and the D-ring should at least level. If not feasible, retractable lanyards, nets, railings and other alternatives must be explored.

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