In order to make your workplace a safer environment and prevent severe injuries or even deaths selecting the right fall protection equipment is critical when working from height.
There are three vital components of a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) which is used to provide maximum worker protection. The three components are a harness, a connector, and an anchor/anchorage point. When all three components are used together properly, they form a Personal Fall Arrest System which is of high importance for safety on each job site. Note: These components will not provide the safety required in event of a fall when used individually.
Due to such a variety of fall protection harnesses on the market, it is very important to choose the right equipment for the job. User’s must pick a harness that is specifically designed for their application. Wearing the wrong type of harness for a job puts workers at risk for injuries and even death in the event of an accident.
Each harness is manufactured with a series of distinct components including D-rings whether they are located on the side, rear, or front of the harness, type of webbing, and lanyard rings. Each provides specific solutions for different work environments.
The Wolverine line of harnesses we offer are great for workers in a greasy environment, providing oil/chemical resistant protection.
The Phoenix line of harnesses we offer are engineered for welders or electricians, who must have fire resistant protection.
Another important aspect of the harnesses is the fitting of them. Ensuring they fit well, and the straps are adjusted accordingly.
When a connection is used with a full body harness and a suitable anchor, the connection piece works to decrease the force of a sustained fall. Subject to the work application, workers should always check the suggested connection piece.
When selecting the correct connection whether it is lanyards or self-retractable lifelines due to the variety of different lengths available, it is crucial to consider the fall clearance distance and the work application.
For example, when working with leading edges fall protection equipment is to be equipped with leading edge technology. This technology in lanyards and self-retractable lifelines allows equipment to absorb more of the energy and impact associated with a fall.
Each of our Walkabout, Joey, and Dingo product lines has leading edge technology available.
An anchor completes the workers fall arrest system, when attached to a suitable anchorage point. The best harness on the market attached to the best lanyard or self-retractable lifeline on the market even then will not arrest a fall if an unsuitable anchorage point is used.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines a safe anchorage point in Section 1910.66 (Appendix C) as follows:
“Anchorages to which personal fall arrest equipment is attached shall be capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds per employee attached, or shall be designed, installed, and used as part of a complete personal fall arrest system which maintains a safety factor of at least two, under the supervision of a qualified person.”
Whenever possible an anchorage should be positioned directly overhead to avoid a swing fall, which may cause injury. Most importantly, take into consideration how a rescue would take place when selecting anchorage.
Disclaimer: Fall protection equipment deteriorates over time, so it’s important to routinely inspect it for wear and damage.