Tool box talks often make reference to the ABCD’s of fall protection–Anchorage, Body Harness, Connecting Device, and Descent/Rescue. In this post, our focus is the letter C and we’ll discuss the pros and cons of common connecting devices: shock absorbing lanyards, self-retracting lifelines (SRL’s) and personal fall limiters (PFL’s).
Let’s assume that your fall protection company just finished installing a new fall arrest system or inspecting and re-certifying an existing engineered system for another year. You’ve committed precious time and resources to ensuring a safe workplace, but despite all of these efforts, your company could be exposed to significant OSHA fines and the employees you consider family at risk.
We recently received an email about the useful service life for lanyards. The client was confused because the service life for PPE isn’t clearly spelled out in the OSHA regulations or in ANSI standards. So how long can you expect a lanyard to last, and when should you replace it?
In previous Tech Talk articles, we have stressed the importance of inspecting your fall arrest system before each use, as well as the need for annual system re-certification. Although the fall protection system is critical to ensuring your safety while working at heights, the system is only as good as the body harness, lanyard, and SRL used to connect the worker to the system itself. This is why we stress the importance of PPE inspection.
What is the best fall arrest option for workers exposed to sharp, unprotected leading edges? To explore this scenario, imagine a construction worker tied off using a traditional lanyard at foot level and installing steel decking.
If the worker falls, the webbed lanyard will run over a sharp, I-Beam with an edge radius ranging from .005″ to .032”. The I-beam may not appear sharp to the untrained eye, but looks are often deceiving. If our hypothetical fall victim selects the wrong PPE, our accident scenario can lead to catastrophic results.
If you are a frequent visitor to our Tech Talk area, you have read articles discussing the ABCD’s of fall protection. This easy-to-remember acronym (anchorage, body harness, connecting device, and descent) is reasonably straightforward, but some folks get confused over connecting devices. Workers create connections between their body harness and the anchorage point using two distinct methodologies: (i) Self-Retracting Lifelines and (ii) Shock Absorbing Lanyards. Both of these options have pros and cons, and clients often ask which approach is better. If you find yourself wondering which option is better, the answer depends on budget and, more importantly, the specifics of the application.