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Chemical and Petrochemical Fall Protection

The presence of highly caustic, corrosive, and volatile materials such as chlorine and acid found in chemical and petrochemical plants requires extensive maintenance and repair of pipe rack systems, clarifying and settling tanks, and other equipment which often exposes employees to fall hazards. Ensuring OSHA compliance and worker safety 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 the potential fall hazards associated with the chemical and petrochemical industries.

We are a complete turnkey provider of fall protection systems designed for the chemical and petrochemical industries and have the years of design and installation experience in these market sectors. Contact us for expert assistance with your fall arrest, fall restraint and fall protection requirements.

Fall Protection Solutions

Design Considerations

Chemical and Petrochemical Industry Fall Protection Design Considerations 

Because chemical and petrochemical plants process corrosive, caustic, and sometimes potentially explosive materials, material selection is a key consideration in system design.  Chemical and petrochemical fall protection and fall arrest systems are typically fabricated using galvanized rather than powder coated or painted materials to ensure chemical resistance.    Non-sparking synthetic cable systems are often specified in chemical and petrochemical applications to minimize the risk of accidental sparking and explosions.

Prolonged exposure to materials found in these plants may pose significant health and safety risks to maintenance personnel, so ease of use is another important factor when evaluating system design.  The finished fall arrest system must be easy to use, fall protection systems must not be cumbersome, and personnel must be able to complete their assigned tasks and leave the work area quickly.

Although pipe rack applications often lend themselves to a horizontal lifeline systems, there are a number of design considerations which must be considered to ensure the safety of your employees.  Because most pipe rack systems are outside, it is important to specify materials that can withstand prolonged exposure to the elements.  Pipe rack Hll’s are typically constructed from 316 stainless steel components to offer corrosion resistance and component longevity.  In addition, because the top tier of a pipe rack system lacks overhead structure to attach a horizontal lifeline for fall arrest, support beams must also be fabricated and installed.  Regardless of level, the horizontal lifeline system design must arrest falls before workers make contact with pipes, support beams, or other structures below the work area.

Many pipe rack systems also have areas requiring infrequent inspection or maintenance that make installation of a permanent horizontal lifeline for fall arrest impractical or economically unfeasible.  In these areas, choker cable tie off systems may be an acceptable, cost-effective alternative to a permanent HLL.

Special care must also be taken to account for load and deflection rates which are determined by a number of factors, including pre-tension of the cable, length of the area spanned, and the number of workers connected to the system.

Our years of experience in the chemical and petrochemical industries, installation expertise, and awareness of your unique access will help us implement a turnkey fall protection system that keeps your employees safe and your facility in compliance with all OSHA regulations

OSHA Regulations

    • 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.
  • 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).
    • 1926.1053(a)(20)
      Cages for fixed ladders shall conform to all of the following:

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