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What are the criteria for the inspection of Fall Arrest Equipment?
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. For questions about a manufacturer’s instructions call the manufacturer or a fall protection consultant.

Hope you can help clarify a situation that I run into quite often. The issue is the compatibility of components between different manufacturers. As is normal course and reasonably expected in today’s work force, companies will have and thus use personal fall arrest components from more than one manufacturer. At times, end-users are told by certain PFAS manufacturers that they are not permitted by OSHA or ANSI to mix components. Manufacturers’ instructions aside, what are OSHA’s and ANSI’s stance on using components from different manufacturers? Are there specific standards that address compatibility issues? An example is can a FallTech harness be used with a Miller lanyard or can a MSA/Rose SRL be used with a DBI harness? That sort of thing. Not looking for you to do my homework but I need an experts advice. Any guidance you could provide would be appreciated.
Several manufacturers say that if you meet the Z359 you can intemix with another Z359-compliant company’s products. The Z359 hints at this without saying this. Other times, we at EFSS are asked to test compatibility with two manufacturers – sometimes two manufacturers but we cannot do all. The client picks the components to be checked and we proceed from there. This is an engineering matter and mathematically called topology. I do such testing on wood poles with tree stand components and used to do it a lot with lineman’s equipment around 1990. This is after the fact and a lot easier.

Hello Nigel, We are continuing our progress on the Fall Protection Program at WVU and have made successful progress with fall protection installation, worker training, and awareness. I have a question for you as the fall safety pro:Is there a standard (ANSI, ASTM or other) that states the Life of the Fall Protection Equipment or is this determination under the jurisdiction of each Manufacturer?
No. In 1990, RTC (my former company) started a lifetime program with lanyards 3 years and harnesses five years. Some other manufacturers tagged along. However the user polls we did were very negative accusing us of wanting to get more sales. So instead you have to follow the instructions of the manufacturer and gauge when to remove an component or system from use and how to dispose of it. The weakest items have been snaphooks and with most users erroneously choosing current OSHA standards and A10.32 over the best practice Z359 – we still have 220 lbs/350 lbs gate strengths and not 3600 lbs in all directions from the Z359.1-2007 currently. Lack of compatability of large snaphooks with anchorages and anchorage connectors is a huge weakness. A10.32 will harmonize with the Z359 however Z359 is busy producing 18 standards set to start replacing the Z359.1 shortly. Inspection every 6 months or sooner and marking inspected equipment are your guides to lifetime presently. DBI also have an electronic system to determine inspection compliance using a chip in the product which they introduced two years ago.

Concerning the marking of fall protection harnesses and lanyards, our Corporate Safety Steering Committee has been discussing whether we should have any restrictions in our fall protection procedure that limits marking on softgoods such as lanyards and harnesses. Are you aware of any concerns or guidance regarding the effects of inks and solvents on equipment and recommendations to users? I have been in contact with North Safety (a Honeywell Company) and they do not recommend it. We are inclined to prohibit this practice, however we were looking for something to base this on, and wondering if you may have something to share.
EFSS has experienced workers marking their harnesses and lanyards for decades. Only part of the webbings is involved and EFSS never has seen any consequences to this practice. However, manufacturers of permanent markers do not make the contents clear  althugh we can assume they include a solvent that should not harm polyester and an insoluble organic and perhaps inorganic colored powder that sits on the surface and resists uv. The effect of sun or uv is an unknown on any two chemicals until a reliable repeat test is done; you could do this perhaps and measure change in strength after a summer in the sun or even a year or two. Various committees in fall protection come up with this question every few years. Nothing is resolved as I recall. In face of the unknown, manufacturers are going to take the position of advising against it. However it is an easy identifier for workers to claim identification with three initials as opposed to tags which can fall off or become defaced. Maybe spray parts of harness straps that are an excess for the user or the back of the shock absorber section or even the snaps, as a lost cost way around the problem.

I need an interpretation between two fall protection standards, Z359-2007 and A10.32-2004. Several safety pros in Arizona are wondering where in any standard it states that fall protection equipment expires 5 years after its manufacture date. I am told it is in the A10.32-2004 standard. I know it is not in Z359, because I have a copy of that standard. I teach that always go by the manufacturer guidelines/instructions for inspection of personal fall protection equipment. But some of this 5 year stuff is coming from manufacturer reps in Arizona.
Refer to A10.32  2004: 3.4 Fall Protection equipment shall be removed from service upon expiration of the manufacturers specified service limits. 6.3.1 Even though the maximum lifetime of Fall Protection equipment has been established, it may not last this long. Fall Protection equipment that shows evidence of wear beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations shall be removed from service. 6.3.4 Manufacturers label which is not legible  remove Fall Protection eqiupment from service.