this worker wears a full-body harness with a lanyard

Fall Protection's Z359 Family of Standards Grows

Three more standards have won ANSI approval, including 12, about connecting components, and 13, about energy-absorbing lanyards.

It's likely that among PPE product segments, only respiratory protection has been driven by industry standards or federal regulations as fully and as quickly as fall protection has in recently years. The latter's key consensus standard scheme, the ANSI/ASSE Z359 family of standards, has been developed and released in stages for most of this decade, pushing the products to be stronger, more protective, and more complete for the end user. ASSE announced Tuesday that the family grew recently with three new additions: ANSI/ASSE Z359.6-2009, "Specification and Design Requirements for Active Fall Protection Systems"; ANSI/ASSE Z359.12-2009, "Connecting Components for Personal Fall Arrest Systems"; and ANSI/ASSE Z359.13-2009, "Personal Energy Absorbers and Energy Absorbing Lanyards."

ASSE said Z359.6-2009 was approved by ANSI on June 3 and specifies requirements for the design and performance of complete, active fall protection systems. Z359.12, also approved June 3, addresses the performance, design, marking, qualification, test methods, and removal from service of connectors. Z359.13, approved June 23, requires energy-absorbing lanyards and personal energy absorbers to reduce the forces on the user to less than 10 gs and says users of energy-absorbing lanyards must weigh between 130 and 310 pounds (59 to 140 kilograms).

"I applaud the ASSE and the devoted group of professionals on the ANSI Z359 Accredited Standards Committee for their dedication to the development of these groundbreaking standards," said Committee Chair Randall Wingfield, who is president and CEO of Gravitec Systems Inc. "Because falls from heights make up a significant portion of workplace fatalities and injuries, the creation of authoritative documents for workers at height and their employers is essential.

"Years in the making, Z359.12 and Z359.13 expand on existing standards in which connecting devices and personal energy absorbers were initially addressed," he added. "Standards devoted solely to these components were necessary because new research and testing have provided us with a better understanding of how these products are used. The new Z359.6 standard tackles fall protection systems design for the first time and is intended for engineers with expertise in this area. The release of these standards marks considerable progress toward the completion of the Z359 Fall Protection Code, a living document that will continue to grow as 10 additional standards are drafted and adopted."

ASSE said the three new standards will be available soon and will become part of the ASSE Fall Protection Code, with an effective date of November 16, 2009.

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