Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Fall hazards are inherent in rigging, demolition, and dismantling. Workers are regularly exposed to dangerous heights while working on roofs, aerial lifts, and floors where no walls exist. Conditions constantly change as projects proceed, so jobsites must be continually assessed and safeguarded against fall hazards. In addition to administrative and engineering controls such as signs, barricades, and guard rails, all riggers and demolition team members working at elevations over 6 feet must be equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, and a fall protection plan should be in place.
Fall Protection PPE Requirements
It is important to inspect fall protection PPE for before each use. Belts, harnesses and lanyards that have frayed edges, broken fibers, pulled stitches, cuts or chemical damage should be replaced according to guidelines. Check buckles, grommets, rivets, and other hardware for looseness, distortion, cracks, dents, bends, rust, and sharp edges, and repair or replace immediately as required.
Harnesses should be properly fitted to each individual following manufacturer instructions, and should be readjusted as needed. Choose the appropriate lanyard for the application, and make sure they comply with ANSI standards. Shock-absorbing lanyards, which elongate to slow a falling worker to a stop to minimize impact force, and retractable lanyards, which lock up during acceleration to arrest a fall, are the most common types. Retractable lanyards should never be attached to an additional lanyard, and overhead anchors should always be used. Lanyards should never be wrapped around a structure or over railings.
It is imperative to ensure good anchorage. Snaphook gate strengths are stamped on the gate, and snaphooks and carabiners should be attached to compatible connection points, with no part of the gate in contact with any metal. OSHA and ANSI require fall-arrest anchor points to support a 5,000 lb. force load, and fall restraint anchorages should support 1,000 lbs., or twice the expected load.
Clearance and capacity should be calculated to ensure that freefall is limited to 6 ft. or less, taking into account deceleration distance, harness movement, and anchor-point stretch. Capacity calculation should include the weight of the worker’s clothing and tools. Swing risks should be minimized with overhead anchors and limit offset to 30 degrees or less.
Finally, fall protection plans should incorporate a rescue plan in the event a worker wearing a harness falls. Even when PPE works as expected, suspension trauma, also known as harness hang syndrome can set in quickly if a fallen worker is suspended for an extended length of time.
R. Baker & Son places the health, safety, and welfare of our employees and clients as our top priority. All rigging and demolition team members, are continually trained in all aspects of jobsite safety, including working at elevation and fall protection. We are a frequent OSHA VPP Star participant and maintain an ISNetworld A-rating.
R. Baker & Son - All Industrial Services
1 Globe Court
Red Bank, NJ 07701
at 3:26 PM