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Fall Protection

Anchor Point – A secure point of attachment for lifelines, lanyards, or deceleration devices. An anchorage must be capable of supporting a minimum dead weight of five thousand (5,000) pounds (2,268 kilograms) for each person attached to it. An anchor point is often a beam, girder, column, or floor.

Competent Person – Any Supervisor who has been trained to inspect fall-arresting equipment such as horizontal and vertical lifelines.

Lanyard – A rope (nylon or steel cable) suitable for supporting one person.

Lifeline – A vertically suspended rope with one end attached to a stationary object (such as a structural member), capable of supporting at least five thousand (5000) pounds (2,268 kilograms) of dead weight and the other end attached to a lanyard or safety harness.

Qualified Inspector – Any experienced craftsperson or Supervisor who has demonstrated to Project/Site Management his or her ability and competency to inspect equipment.

Retractable Lifeline – A fall-arrest device that allows free travel, without slack rope, but locks instantly when a fall begins. Retractable lifelines may be used, but horizontal movement must be limited.

Rope Grabs (Fall-Arrester) – Automatic lifeline devices that act by inertia (resistance to movement) to grab the lifeline if a fall occurs. Rope grabs are used when vertical movement is required, such as work from boatswain chairs or suspended scaffolds.

Safety Harness – A safety harness is an approved design of straps which may be secured about the employee’s body in a manner to distribute the fall-arrest forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest, and shoulders, with a means for attaching it to other components of a personal fall-arrest system.

Static Line or Catenary Line – A cable or rope strung horizontally and/or vertically from one substantial object to another, providing a means of traveling between those two objects while maintaining fall protection between those objects.

Structural/Substantial Object – Any object to which a lifeline or lanyard may be attached that will support five thousand (5000) pounds (2,268 kilograms) of dead weight.

SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO FALL HAZARD MANAGEMENT

1. Fall Elimination

The first step in this approach is to assess the workplace and the work itself in the earliest design/engineering stages of the Project/Site and during the planning stages of all work. The objective is to eliminate all fall hazards. This assessment of the Project/Site and the work not only helps eliminate personal protective equipment against falls  hazards but also identifies alternative approaches to the work that can measurably enhance productivity.

Addressing fall protection in the early phases of a Project/Site means that safety can be designed into the work process. For example, the Project/Site can be designed so that anchorages for securing fall-arrest systems are provided at strategic locations throughout the Project/Site, thus improving safety and lowering costs.

2. Fall Prevention

The second step in continuous fall protection also requires assessing the workplace and work processes.

If fall hazards cannot be completely eliminated during the first step, management must take a proactive approach to the prevention of falls by improving the workplace. Early installation of stairs, guardrails, barriers, and travel restriction systems can ensure a safe work environment.

3. Fall Arresting

The third step, the last line of defense against falls, is to use fall-arresting equipment. Use fall-arresting equipment, however, ONLY after determining that potential falls cannot be eliminated by changing work procedures or the workplace. Equipment such as harnesses, lanyards, shock absorbers, fall-arresters, lifelines, anchorages, and safety nets can reduce the risk of injury if a fall occurs. Carefully assess th