Fall-Rescue Planning

It is important to point out that the Fall Protection Code was not written for professional rescuers, such as fire, police and ambulance personnel.  The standards were developed for PFAS users and manufacturers.  While rope rescue by professional rescuers may be the last resort after other rescue means are considered and/or tried and rejected, Z359 standards are written for equipment users as planned rescuers.  Therefore, the emphasis is placed on planning for emergencies as part of the overall fall protection program.  It is important, however, that the rescuers be trained in the latest treatment methods for suspension intolerance.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 460.

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Scaffold Regulations

OSHA scaffold regulations are currently found in the 1926 and 1910 standards.  Most scaffolds are governed by 29CFR1926, Subpart L.  This standard applies anytime a “construction-type activity” is to performed from the scaffold.  This is true even in general industry (1910 type) facilities. The location of the scaffold does not determine the standard applicability, but rather the activity to be performed on the scaffold.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 138.

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Importance of Training

Workers need training to understand the rules and how they apply in real life situations.  They frequently are simply unaware of dangerous situations such as equipment compatibility problems, the consequences of a sudden free fall or the possibility of impact  with a stationary object.  Workers must be trained that safety is their responsibility and that taking the time to do a job properly is the safest way to protect themselves and their coworkers.  To achieve this, training must provide hands-on opportunities for workers and managers. Workers should also be trained to understand why their work will be observed in the field and why they will be required to undergo additional training if they do not meet expectations on a recurring basis.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” pages 438-439.

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Jail Sentence for Roofing Company Owner

The Superior Court of Justice in Ontario, Canada recently sentenced a roofing company owner to 15 days in jail (in addition to other sanctions) for the fall death of one of his employees.  The employee, who was wearing a harness but was not tied-off, was both experienced and recently had undergone fall protection training.

In handing out the unprecedented jail sentence the Court reasoned that the owner initially had lied about the incident, had a history of fall protection violations and, importantly, the Court found that the owner had knowledge that the worker regularly did not use his fall protection equipment properly.

The Court considered it’s ruling a warning to all employers as it held, in part, “The major reason a jail sentence is necessary for (the owner) is to deter others from ignoring the legislated fall protection requirements.  Others in the industry must pause to consider that each and every time they embark on a roofing project they may go to jail if one of their employees does not use fall protection gear.”

Anchorage Load

Unless the fall event occurs directly underneath the horizontal lifeline, additional lateral loadings will be produced in the anchorages due to offset from the lifeline centerline. The magnitude of these forces is directly related to the offset distance and should be set equal to the maximum vertical load encountered in the line for the total number of workers on the system.  This  load shall be applied in either direction at the end anchorage for analysis and design purposes.

Termination hardware and other accessories also should be checked against the anchorage load  to be certain that the entire fall arrest system meets OSHA requirements.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 301.

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Equipment Use

The primary rule is to apply fall protection when the height hazard exceeds a reasonable figure of a few feet – or at any height, if continued exposure is not preventable. The responsibility of the equipment vendor to educate an end user is limited by the extent that the customer (i.e., the end user’s employer) has a bona fide no-fall policy rather than a tie-off policy, which is common among employers.  It also depends upon the manufacturer’s instructions, labeling, and product literature, and whether the employer and employees follow these items for reasonably foreseeable or permitted uses.  Workers must be provided with, and be required to read and understand, product instructions and labeling on fall arrest equipment.

See “Introduction to Fall Production, 4th Edition” page 76.

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Connecting Hardware

The choice of snaphooks to link rope-grab components is a vital safety matter.  Only instructions from the manufacturer of the rope grab should be followed to ensure  the hardware is compatible.  No other snaphooks should  be  used to avoide potential roll-out or burst-out.  Other parts of this book address the problems of mixing and matching and misuse.  All snaphooks should be of self-locking design, maintained in optimum operating condition, and discarded if they are jammed or damaged.

If a manufacturer’s snaphook instructions for use and inspection are not crystal clear, a new manufacturer should be sought.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 236.

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Anchorage Structures

Ladder rungs or steps, and guardrails or railings of any kind, should not be used for fall arrest anchorages unless they are designed and  labeled specifically for that purpose.  Steel members should be used for anchorage-point structures whenever possible.  Masonry fittings can be suitable when used with through-bolts and plate washers.  Expanded anchor bolts should  be specified by a registered professional engineer.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” Appendix C page 514.

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Rescue Devices

It should be noted that a manually operated mechanical device could  be utilized optimally at a lift rate of 10 to 20 feet per minute under demonstration conditions.  Remember that the object of the retrieval process is to extricate the worker within 4 minutes, the rule-of-thumb limit for the onset of brain damage from oxygen deprivation.  Therefore, when manually powered hoists are used to provide access from more than a 50-foot depth, a pneumatic operation should be the primary lifting force.  Another factor in the 50-foot limit is the static, muscle work duration for upper-body cranking, set at approximately 30 pounds when non-stop for several minutes (5:1 ratio with 12-inch lever arm).

See “Introduction to Fall Protection,4th Edition” page 370.

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Residential Roofs

Because of difficulties in training residential roof workers, elimination of hazards seems to be the most feasible goal.  A large enough crane capacity and boom length, plus pre-assembly at ground level, can go a long way toward the elmination of fall hazards.

Residential roof installations should be viewed as opportunities for creative fall protection, particularly using the upper wall studs and cross members as a railing rather than a working surface.  This can be accomplished through the use of temporary plywood floors and stepladders.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 339.

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