Friday, February 29, 2008

Horse Sense Safety

Personal Fall Arrest Systems

OSHA Standard 1926.502(d)

Personal fall arrest systems and their use SHALL comply with the provisions set forth below.

All Dee–rings and snap hooks shall have a minimum tensile strength of 5,000 pounds. All harnesses and lanyards shall be able to withstand a minimum of 5,000 pounds of force. No alterations to any part of a fall arrest system shall be made to compromise the integrity of the system.

Personal fall arrest systems, must bring an employee to a complete stop and limit maximum deceleration distance an employee travels to 3.5 feet and, have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of an employee free falling a distance of 6 feet or free fall distance permitted by the , system whichever is less.

The above items are paraphrased from the standards and are applicable to Horse Sense actions. The items below are some “Donkey” items that many workers don’t do, don’t understand or just plain don’t think.

What about a person working off a platform that is 10 feet off the floor or ground? They should be anchored to something that will withstand the noted 5,000 pounds of force. They should be anchored 6 feet (the length of the lanyard) PLUS 3 ½ feet (the length of the acceleration device. Distances are to be computed as the bottom of the worker’s feet. The anchor point (snap hook) SHALL be the locking type to prevent rollout; not snapped back to the lanyard unless the snap hook and lanyard are designed for that purpose.

What about the worker that is standing on a platform and is anchored to a point that is even with or below the feet of the worker? Their fall distance will exceed the maximum allowed falling distance stated in the standard.

What about a worker that is moving from one place to another while still in a possible fall? They must have a second lanyard to connect to a safe point prior to disconnecting the first lanyard.

What about the worker that has a harness that is too large for them. So many times, I have seen workers take a pocket knife and cut a hole past the grometed holes in the harness to be able to get the harness to fit their body. When this happens, the entire harness must be destroyed as the integrity of the harness has been compromised. Harnesses MUST be of a proper size to fit the worker’s body.

What about the termination date that the harness manufacturer has placed on the tag of the harness? Harnesses MUST not be used past its termination date.

What about the lanyards that show excessive wear that creates a hazard of meeting the 5,000 pound force limit? These MUST be destroyed so that they cannot be used.

It doesn’t take much use of Horse Sense to properly check the safety and integrity of a Fall Protection System.

Check all parts of your Fall Protection system prior to EACH use.

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