When working at elevated heights, proper fall arrest systems (also known as fall restraint equipment) should always be used. All components of fall restraint equipment should be inspected regularly. Depending on the job being performed, different fall restraint equipment should be used. Talk to your supervisor to find out what equipment best suits your safety needs.
What are the different kinds of fall protection?
- Fall Arrest:
Protects workers by stopping (arresting) them in mid-fall from a working surface (includes harness, anchorage support, lifeline, lanyard).
While using fall protection gear is very important, so is frequent inspection of the equipment. Fall restraint systems are only effective if they are used properly, this includes proper maintenance.
- Fall Prevention:
Prevents workers from reaching the fall hazard by creating a barrier between the worker and the fall hazard (guardrails, safety nets).
Prevents workers from getting too close to a fall hazard by use of a tie-off system (harness, lanyard tied off at a set length from a weighted tie-off point).
How do I inspect my fall prevention equipment?
- Make sure hardware and straps are intact and not worn, with no twists or tears in the fabric
- Ensure all moving parts are moving freely
- Check webbing to make sure it’s free of burns, cuts, loose or broken stitching, frayed material, and signs of heat or chemical damage
Lanyard with shock absorber:
- Inspect entire rope length, ensure there’s no worn, broken or cut fibres
- Make sure the lanyard attaches securely to the D-ring on the harness
- Check hardware for rust, cracks or damage
- Check shock-absorbing lanyards regularly. Look for any significant tears, wears or burns – discard any lanyards that show damage
- Test retractable lifelines for smooth and proper retraction operation
- Inspect lifeline fibres and look for wears, tears, cuts or burns
- Select lifelines at least 16mm in diameter made of strong materials (polypropylene or other strong materials are recommended over nylon, which stretches more)
- Check for deterioration caused by prolonged sun or chemical exposure
Ensure all other fall protection equipment (including D-rings, buckles, snaphooks, webbing, anchorage, rope grabs and shock absorbers), are also regularly inspected for wear, tear and cracks. Replace any parts that show signs of damage.