Every year, over 100,000 injuries and deaths are the result of work-related falls- one of the highest causes of death in the workplace. So, according to OSHA 1926.502, it is every employer’s responsibility to develop and maintain a fall protection program.
Do you know the ABC’s?:
A- Anchorage/Anchorage Connector- Must be capable of supporting 5000 pounds of force per worker.
B- Body Wear- Full-body harness is the only form of body wear acceptable for fall arrest.
C- Connecting Device- the critical link which joins the body wear to the anchorage/anchorage connector.
Fall protection systems- can consist of devices that arrest a free fall or devices that restrain a worker who is in a position that prevents a fall from happening. A Fall Arrest System is employed when a worker is at risk of falling from an elevated position. This type of system consists of the following components:
- Tie-off Point
- Rope Grab
- Shock-Absorbing Lanyard
- Cross-Arm Strap
- Retractable Lifeline
- Full-Body Harness
- Restraining Belt
- Restraining Lanyard
A Positioning System restrains the elevated worker and prevents him/her from getting into a hazardous position where a fall could occur. It also allows hands-free work. These also have the above harnesses or belts, connection devices and tie-off points. However, these systems have limitations and it’s up to the Safety Manager (or other person in charge of training) to discuss them.
Full-body harnesses -wrap around the waist, shoulder and legs. A D-ring located in the center of the back provides a connecting point for lanyards and other fall arrest connection devices. Belts are also used in positioning system applications. They have two side D-rings, and are used only for restraining a worker in position. This type of belt is not used for any vertical free fall protection.
Where do I attach it? Per OSHA 1926.502(d)(17), it must be attached in the center of the wearer’s back, near or above the shoulder level or above the head.
Body Harnesses:These are designed to minimize stress forces on a worker’s body while providing sufficient freedom to perform the work. As of January 1, 1998, OSHA 1926.502(d)(18)stated that Body Belts are no longer acceptable since they would impose internal injuries when stopping a fall.
Vertical Lifeline/Lanyards-Must have a 5,000 lb minimum breaking strength and protect against cuts or abraded.
Self-Retracting Vertical Lifelines/Lanyards- Automatically limit free fall distance to 2 ft. or less and capable of sustaining a 3,000 minimum tensile load when in full extended position.
Horizontal lifelines- Are designed, installed and used under the proper supervision, and are used as part of a complete fall arrest system that maintains a safety factor of at least two.
Webbing- Must be made of synthetic fibers, these are the ropes and straps used in lifelines, lanyards and strength components of body harnesses. OSHA 1926.502(d)(14)
Connectors: Must be made from drop-forged, pressed or formed steel (or equivalent materials), must have a corrosion-resistant finish with smooth surfaces and edges to prevent damage to the system’s connecting parts. These include D-rings and snap hooks.
D-Rings: Must have a minimum 5,000 lb. tensile strength and be proof-tested to minimum 3,600lb tensile load without breaking, cracking or becoming permanently deformed.
Snap hooks- Must have minimum 5,000 lb tensile strength and be proof tested to a minimum 3,600 lb tensile load without breaking, cracking or becoming permanently deformed.
Anchorage- used for attachment of personal fall arrest equipment and is independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms. Capable of supporting at least 5,000 lbs per employee attached, or must be designed and used 1) under supervision of qualified person or 2) as part of a complete personal fall arrest system maintains a safety factor of at least two. OSHA 1926.502(d)(15)
Don’t let your workers be a statistic- choose Emedco as your One-Stop Safety Source to avoid fines and stay compliant! We have a great line up of fall protection solutions that meet and exceed OSHA, ANSI & CSA requirements such as: Harnesses, Lanyards, Lifelines and Confined Space Training Programs. You’ll find top brands such as: Miller, MSA and Fall Tech that ensure optimum quality, durability and mobility. Also, check out our huge selection of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that includes: safety glasses, hearing protection, hard hats, head protection, gloves, protective clothing, ergonomic products (ie wrist, back and knee supports) and much more!.
Submitted by: Donna Kolody/Emedco