A is for Anchor Point…

The anchor point is the point in which the worker will be suspended. Anchor points vary by industry, the job, and what type of structure is above. However, each anchor point should be at a high enough place to avoid possible contact with the lower platform in case the worker falls. According to OSHA, the anchor point should support at least 5,000 pounds per worker.

Passive Fall protection systems are stationary, and do not require much PPE for the worker. Examples of Passive fall protection systems include railings and catch platforms. Active Fall Protection systems are used when a platform can not be used around the perimeter of the job site. Some examples of Active fall protection systems are horizontal lifelines, trolley systems, conventional beams, and fixed anchor points. All of these connect to an overhead structure.

Fixed Point Anchors are the simplest form of anchor points. A Self Retracting Lifeline or a lanyard is attached to an anchor point. When workers need to move to a different area, they can switch to different fixed anchor points.

If the job requires a lot of moving, a mobile anchorage point should be considered. Horizontal lifelines offer continuous protection while working. Horizontal lifelines are the economic alternatives to beams and trolley systems. Some Horizontal lifelines include a shock absorber to reduce the force placed on the structure. HLLs are available to purchase as kits.

Anchorage connectors are used to attach the lanyard or SRL to the anchor point. When choosing an anchorage connector, it is important to consider:

 •  How much strength and durability will be needed?

 •  Is the anchor point fixed or mobile?

 •  Will the personal fall arrest system be permanent?

 •  What kind of attachment type does the overhead structure need?

 

B is for Body Gear…

 

A Full Body Harness will be needed for the personal fall arrest system. If a worker happens to fall, the force exerted will be distributed across the body. Harnesses need to go through strength and abrasion tests and should be able to resist the effects of weather. If any harness is burned, frayed, or damaged in any way, it should be replaced. A Full Body Harness consists of:

 •  Hardware

 •  Webbing that is tightly woven and strongly stitched to avoid snagging and tears.

 •  Padding that holds its shape. The padding should be strong and reliable.

 •  Chest straps that lay near the mid-chest.

 •  Back D-rings: located between the shoulder blades

 

 

C is for Connection Device…

 

The connecting device is what links the harness and the anchor point. It is crucial that the connecting device absorbs some of the shock. Non-shock absorbing connecting devices should not be used for fall arrest systems. Common connection devices include a Self-Retracting Lifeline, or a shock absorbing lanyard. These are both safer and more common in fall arrest systems. A Self-Retracting Lifeline allows for quicker activation and greater mobility. When selecting a connecting device, look at:

 •  Product Quality: Does the device comply with OSHA and ANSI standards?

 •  What type of work will it be used for?

 •  What kind of conditions will it go through? (e.g Weather)

 •  What is the potential distance a worker could fall? (always add a safety factor)

 •  Is the connection device compatible with the rest of the equipment?

 

 

Fall protection is crucial for anyone working at an elevated surface. Every worker needs to know how to recognize hazards at the job site. It is extremely important that the workers are familiar with the equipment that could potentially save their lives. The first step to selecting a fall arrest system is knowing the ABCs of Fall Protection.