Hydroelectric

Hydroelectric Power Generation Fall Protection

OSHA-compliant fall protection for dams and hydroelectric power generation plants is vital to keep your maintenance staff safe and your facility online. Providing safe access to the pumps and valves forming the backbone of your hydroelectric power plant requires a comprehensive fall prevention strategy, which includes the proper mix of fall protection equipment, a descent and rescue plan, personnel training, and partnering with a fall protection company that appreciates the unique nature of your facility’s access points and potential fall hazards.

Hydroelectric
Hydroelectric
Hydroelectric
Hydroelectric
Hydroelectric
Hydroelectric
Hydroelectric
Hydroelectric

Fall Protection Solutions

Catwalk systems spanning the internal perimeter of the pit are often used to provide safe access to the monitoring stations, pumps and valves in the pump house. Catwalk systems must make use of a guard rail, horizontal lifeline, rigid track system, or single point anchors to provide safe access. OSHA compliant fall protection is also needed to protect maintenance staff accessing various levels in the pump house pit, and rescue equipment is needed in the event of a fall. Diversified Fall Protection has years of experience installing OSHA compliant fall protection systems for dams and hydroelectric power generation plants

Design Considerations

Dam and Pump House Fall Protection Design Considerations

Many of the design features commonly associated with hydroelectric power generation plants present significant fall hazards. Most of the fall protection in this market can be seen in dam applications where large amounts of water are used to generate power. Fall protection systems for hydroelectric power plants are typically spanned over longer sections because dams often lack the needed structure to secure a horizontal lifeline or single point anchor.

The pump house adjacent to the dam also presents confined space challenges. These buildings typically feature 20 square feet wide perimeters and run from 60 to 100 feet underground, with instrumentation monitoring stations at varying depth levels. The large interior opening of the pump house, sometimes referred to as a pit, allows valves, pumps, and related equipment to be taken in and out of the facility for servicing. Workers are also exposed to fall hazards when descending and ascending from the pump house pit to perform routine maintenance

 

OSHA Regulations

  • HLL/VLL
    • 1926.502(d)
      'Personal fall arrest systems.' Personal fall arrest systems and their use shall comply with the provisions set forth below. Effective January 1, 1998, body belts are not acceptable as part of a personal fall arrest system. Note: The use of a body belt in a positioning device system is acceptable and is regulated under paragraph (e) of this section.
    • 1926.502(d)(8)
      Horizontal lifelines shall be designed, installed, and used, under the supervision of a qualified person, as part of a complete personal fall arrest system, which maintains a safety factor of at least two.
    • 1926.502(d)(9)
      Lanyards and vertical lifelines shall have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN).
    • 1926.502(d)(10) 1926.502(d)(10)(i)
      Except as provided in paragraph (d)(10)(ii) of this section, when vertical lifelines are used, each employee shall be attached to a separate lifeline.
    • 1926.502(d)(11)
      Lifelines shall be protected against being cut or abraded.
    • 1926.502(d)(12)
      Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards which automatically limit free fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 m) or less shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 3,000 pounds (13.3 kN) applied to the device with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position.
    • 1926.502(d)(13)
      Self-retracting lifelines and lanyards which do not limit free fall distance to 2 feet (0.61 m) or less, ripstitch lanyards, and tearing and deforming lanyards shall be capable of sustaining a minimum tensile load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) applied to the device with the lifeline or lanyard in the fully extended position.
  • Personal Fall Arrest Systems
    • 1926.502(d)
      'Personal fall arrest systems.' Personal fall arrest systems and their use shall comply with the provisions set forth below. Effective January 1, 1998, body belts are not acceptable as part of a personal fall arrest system. Note: The use of a body belt in a positioning device system is acceptable and is regulated under paragraph (e) of this section.
    • 1926.502(d)(16)
      Personal fall arrest systems, when stopping a fall, shall:
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(i)
      limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 900 pounds (4 kN) when used with a body belt;
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(ii)
      limit maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 kN) when used with a body harness;
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(iii)
      be rigged such that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 feet (1.8 m), nor contact any lower level;
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(iv)
      bring an employee to a complete stop and limit maximum deceleration distance an employee travels to 3.5 feet (1.07 m); and,
    • 1926.502(d)(16)(v)
      have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of an employee free falling a distance of 6 feet (1.8 m), or the free fall distance permitted by the system, whichever is less.
  • Ladders
    • 1926.1053(a)(18)
      Fixed ladders shall be provided with cages, wells, ladder safety devices, or self-retracting lifelines where the length of climb is less than 24 feet (7.3 m) but the top of the ladder is at a distance greater than 24 feet (7.3 m) above lower levels.
    • 1926.1053(a)(19)
      Where the total length of a climb equals or exceeds 24 feet (7.3 m), fixed ladders shall be equipped with one of the following:
    • 1926.1053(a)(19)(i)
      Ladder safety devices; or
    • 1926.1053(a)(19)(ii)
      Self-retracting lifelines, and rest platforms at intervals not to exceed 150 feet (45.7 m); or
    • 1926.1053(a)(19)(iii)
      A cage or well, and multiple ladder sections, each ladder section not to exceed 50 feet (15.2 m) in length. Ladder sections shall be offset from adjacent sections, and landing platforms shall be provided at maximum intervals of 50 feet (15.2 m).

Did You Know?

In 2015, Fall Protection was ranked number one as the most frequently cited OSHA standards violation?