Developing comprehensive fall prevention in the workplace
In almost every industry, there are areas where workers face the risks of falls. These fall hazards must be identified by a competent person so that the workplace can be redesigned including the working processes and procedures. If elimination of the fall hazards is impractical due to the need for extensive modification, fall prevention should be considered. Fall prevention can be handled in different ways that include handrails, scaffolds, barriers and movable platforms if the workers have to work at heights. If the fall prevention devices are impractical, personal fall protection equipment like lanyards, retractable Life line system and full body harnesses may be employed. However, OSHA regulations require that workers must be fully trained in the proper selection, use and maintenance of the fall protection devices. Failure to provide training to workers may lead to disastrous results like death or serious injuries.
Selection for fall protection products
The employer must decide on which of the fall protection products is best suitable to the workplace. Before making a choice, it is essential for the employer to be knowledgeable on how the fall protection products operate so that a system can be chosen according to the hazards faced by the workers. There are 3 vital components that comprise the fall protection system: the anchorage, body support and means of connection. While all the components are considered vital to a worker’s safety, the most important is the connecting system because it is the link in assembling a safe fall protection system.
Why the connecting system is critical for fall protection
The connecting system is critical link that joins acceptable body wear for fall arrest to the anchorage or anchorage connector. Lanyards can be energy-absorbing, fall limiter, self-retracting, rope grab or retrieval system. Connections usually vary depending on whether the worker is equipped for personal fall arrest or work positioning and travel restriction. For personal fall arrest or Lifeline system, the lanyard is equipped with an energy-absorbing element that will reduce the energy that will be transmitted to the body in case of a fall.
The connection system for positioning and restriction of travel is usually a simple lanyard that is made from rope, wire rope or web. The positioning devices are intended to reduce the potential of a free fall to a distance of less than two feet. The specialized positioning assemblies used for rebar work are typically constructed of chain or web. Lanyards for the purpose of restraint need a specified length to prevent the worker from reaching a fall hazard zone.