The use of self-retracting lifelines (SRLs) for leading-edge applications has been increasingly scrutinized in recent years. As occupational safety standards evolve, employers must stay ahead of the curve and up-to-date on the latest fall protection standards. In the mid-2010s, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) issued a new standard, Z359.14, that addresses leading and sharp-edge applications when using SRLs as part of personal fall arrest systems.
What Are the Regulations?
Fall protection regulations are critical in maintaining safety and preventing injuries in the workplace. In the early 2000s, OSHA introduced regulations 1926.502 and .503, establishing guidelines for fall protection in construction and other industries. These regulations require employers to implement specific measures, such as guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), to prevent falls and ensure worker safety.
While these regulations have helped reduce the number of falls in the workplace, they don’t cover all fall scenarios. For example, using PFAS on leading and sharp edges presents unique challenges. These edges cause significant damage to equipment, including PFAS devices, leading to failure and possible injury.
In the mid-2010s, ANSI released a new standard called Z359.14. The standard provides updated guidance on PFAS and SRLs for leading-edge work. It aims to help employers address the challenges of working on leading and sharp edges and protect workers from fall hazards.
The following section will dive deeper into the new standard and its implications for your workplace.
What Is the New Standard?
ANSI’s new standard, Z359.14, specifically addresses leading- and sharp-edge applications where self-retracting devices on personal fall arrest systems are concerned for leading-edge work. The standard has set a new threshold for fall protection safety in the workplace by introducing new tests, evaluations, and criteria for SRLs. These SRLs are critical to personal fall protection systems when working at heights near sharp or leading edges.
The new standard requires SRLs to undergo rigorous testing under different fall conditions to ensure that they can adequately protect workers from falls near leading and sharp edges. The new standard also stipulates that workers using SRLs must be adequately trained and equipped to use the device safely. The standard emphasizes that worker safety should be prioritized over convenience or speed.
The introduction of this standard marks a significant step forward in the evolution of fall protection technology. The new standard ensures that workers are adequately protected while on the job by specifying the requirements for SRLs used in leading and sharp-edge work environments. Additionally, it encourages the development of new and innovative fall protection solutions that meet these strict criteria.
As a responsible employer or employee, you must know the new standard and ensure that your fall protection equipment and systems comply. The standard represents a commitment to safety in the workplace and helps create a safer and more secure working environment for all workers.
What Does This Mean for You?
As a business owner or worker, you are responsible for ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the job site. With the advancements in fall protection technology, you now have access to innovative solutions to help keep you safe from leading-edge hazards.
The new ANSI standard for self-retracting devices is designed to improve the safety of workers who perform leading-edge work, including those who work on sharp edges or corners. By using SRLs that comply with this standard, you can reduce the risk of serious injury or death in the event of a fall.
In addition to complying with industry standards, it is essential to properly train your workers on how to use SRLs and other fall protection equipment. Providing guidance ensures proper usage and reduces the risk of accidents.
Remember, falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Investing in quality fall protection equipment and following best workplace safety practices can help prevent accidents and protect yourself and your workers from serious injury.
At Safe Keeper, we have a range of SRLs specifically designed to meet the safety requirements of Z359.14 for leading-edge work. Our SRLs are made of durable materials and come with an integrated shock-absorbing component that helps to redirect the force of a fall away from the part of the cable that comes into contact with the leading or sharp edge—reducing the risk of fraying and the pendulum effect. If you need a personal fall arrest system, please contact us to discuss your options.