Fall Protection System Components

Both the employer and employee should realize that components of a fall protection system may not be interchangeable.  For instance, if a commodity-grade rope is used for a lifeline, the authorizing authority must be certain that is the correct diameter and has the test strength for use with a specific rope-grab device on a prolonged basis.

Components of a fall arrest system should note be substituted or changed unless fully evaluated and tested by a qualified person or the equipment manufacturer.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” pages 253-254.

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Incident Investigation

In the case of a fall or near-miss incident, the fall protection administrator should appoint a competent or qualified person to conduct an incident investigation.  The investigation will help determine if the fall protection program has established the appropriate control method for a given hazard, if the training is adequate, and what improvements are needed to ensure such an incident does not reoccur.

Systems of root-cause analysis help identify the underlying causes of incidents and are valuable for determining what corrective measure should be taken as a result of hte lessons learned. Many times, the result of an incident investigation is that worker error is identified as  the main contributing factor. When root-cause analysis is used, multiple underlying causes are usually uncovered.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 406.

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Lifts and Platforms

More important, articulated boom lifts have the propensity for the bucket to catapult the worker from the bucket on occasion.  If the boom is extended while the unit is being moved, a small curb, obstruction, or floor hole cover could cause the arm to exaggerate the movement in the bucket and throw the worker from it.  This is why the use of fall arrest system is critical for work in articulated boom equipment.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 178.

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HLL Requirements

All horizontal lifeline designs must be approved by a qualified engineer who is a specialist in this field (OSHA 1910.66, Appendix C, and 1920.500, Appendix C). Readers are expected to use the most recent standards.  OSHA standards may be checked at www.OSHA.gov and ANSI standards at www.ANSI.org. States with their own plans must update their standards within six months of any change in the federal OSHA standards.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 310.

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Three Point Control

Three Point climbing without fall protection e.g. (movement at height with two hands & one foot alternating with two feet & one hand) can be better analyzed as follows:

1. Three Point Stance: American football term readiness to start play; FMCSA/DOT access points for truckers to/from the cab with at least two digits & no cutting of the finger at the second digit.

2. Three Point Contact: any point of body contact plus two feet position to climb and work balanced hands-free (no performance based definition).

3. Three Point Control: Hand or hands on a round rung or horizontal grab bar and a horizontal round or flat level for foot or feet. Ideal round grab bar or rung for optimal handhold performance is 1″ diameter based on a handhold coupling study of 36 subjects by Justin Young, Kettering University, Michigan, link: http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/84452 .

Vertical handholds slide during a fall. Handhold shapes like angle iron fail to arrest dynamic falls both vertically and horizontally. Bottom line is that dynamic force on the hands arresting body weight is surprisingly large, and the 1″ diameter horizontal bar is the best shot we have for safe performance on structures at height. Designers need to understand this human limitation when designing tower structures, and tower climbers need to understand no free-climbing at any time.

Examples of climbing are shown.
Note: please wait a few seconds as sketches show movement.

THREE POINT CONTROL-GRABSAFE FOR PORTABLE LADDER

pt.GrabSafe.3point.b-800-Faster

THREE POINT CONTROL- HATCHGRIP FOR ROOF HATCH
HatchGrip.3point.b-800-Faster

THREE POINT CONTROL-GRABSAFE FOR FIXED LADDER

GrabSafefix.3Point.a-800-Faster

 

Fall Protection Systems

It is best to integrate fall protection within a structure at the time the structure itself is designed. In some cases, the choice of manufactured system components, such as pulleys, trolleys, and other devices, may reduce the need for basic engineering. The expensive testing you need may have already been conducted and is often available from the manufacturer.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 290.

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Roofing Fall Protection

When considering a fall protection system for roofing, it is extremely important to realize that each building is unique and requires a site-specific plan for the identification of the roofing fall hazards. For example, if hot asphalt, built-up roofing system is specified for a building with no parapet wall, a personal fall arrest system is not feasible.  The asphalt would immediately damage any lanyards or harnesses that contact the material, unless an anchorage point is designed to keep the lanyard or harness from contacting the hot asphalt.  The wearing of harnesses and lanyards around a mop cart containing hot asphalt (especially in roofing applications) has contributed to serious burns of roofers.  A better system for protection of workers must be considered.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 331.

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Tree-Trimming Harnesses

Harnesses and fliplines and lanyards and lifelines should follow the ANSI Z133.1 standard. Use of aerial lifts is encouraged in lieu of tree climbing.  Aerial lifts should be well maintained, and fall protection should be provided.  Platforms should be equipped with escape devices in case bees are disturbed while cutting trees and bushes and there is an immdiate need for a speedy controlled descent.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 208.

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Step Ladders

By their nature, stepladders have a stable angle and are self-supporting when properly used but offer very little opportunity to be secured from tipping.  Therefore, the height limitation for such usage should be minimized, possibly to a maximum working height of 6 feet (or an 8-foot stepladder).  Railed stepladders with depressible casters offer more opportunity for safe access to heights.  These ladder stands should be replaced by elevating platforms to reduce training and observation burdens.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 126.

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Fall Hazard Elimination

The search for fall hazard elimination begins during construction or renovation with the architect/engineer in charge. No other professional can do this work. It is incumbent upon the design professional to become aware of fall hazards so that the hazards can be eliminated or controlled during construction, maintenanc, and demolition.  In this context, elimination means that the design substitution or sequence of work does not include fall hazards.

See “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” page 416.

Order your copy of “Introduction to Fall Protection, 4th Edition” today.  This invaluable resource will take you from the structure design stage to post construction maintenance. Click to find out more!