Water Tower Fall Protection

Fall Protection & Fall Arrest Systems for the Water Tower Industry

While water towers are important to many municipal water systems, they also present significant fall hazards.  Municipal water tower maintenance activities such as inspection, sandblasting, and painting require a comprehensive fall prevention strategy, which includes the proper mix of water tower fall protection equipment, a descent and rescue plan, personnel training, and partnering with a fall protection company that appreciates the unique nature of your access points and potential fall hazards.

Water Tower Fall Protection
Water Tower Fall Protection
Water Tower Fall Protection
Water Tower Fall Protection
Water Tower Fall Protection
Water Tower Fall Protection
Water Tower Fall Protection
Water Tower Fall Protection

We are a complete turnkey provider of fall protection systems designed for the municipal water industry and have the years of design and installation experience in this market sector.  Contact us for expert assistance with your fall arrest, fall restraint and fall protection requirements.

Design Considerations

Water Tower Fall Protection Design Considerations Because the primary maintenance areas are elevated above ground level, ladder systems are common water fixtures on most water towers.  Ladder systems can be internally housed, but more typically, the service platforms on water towers are accessed using external ladder systems that are exposed to the corrosive effects of the elements.   In addition to water, internal ladder systems are subjected to chlorine exposure.  The tank area is accessed using a perimeter catwalk, while the top of the dome itself is reached using a curved or radial style ladder.  In addition to OSHA regulations, most water tower installations are also subject to local safety codes which vary by municipality. Ladders equipped with vertical lifeline systems protect maintenance personnel from fall hazards as they make their way from the ground level to the perimeter catwalk surrounding the tank.  Special care must be taken to protect workers as they transition from the ladder to the work platform, which in most cases, utilizes a guardrail system.  In addition, a cable tie off system that takes into account the curvature of the tank must be installed to provide safe access.  The corrosive effects of water, chlorine, and airborne elements makes stainless steel an ideal material selection for water tower fall protection systems.  Our vast knowledge of local code provisions, personnel training, and experience installing OSHA compliant water tower fall protection systems will keep your facility, and more importantly, your maintenance staff safe.

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?

A fall from an unprotected loading dock can cause serious injury or death?