Five Things Your Company Can't Afford Not to Know about Anchorage

When it comes to investing in and installing fall arrest equipment, how to safely anchor the system can be one of the most difficult and confusing decisions.

When it comes to investing in and installing fall arrest equipment, how to safely anchor the system can be one of the most difficult and confusing decisions. Even the most comfortable harness and a maximum shock-absorbing design can be useless if the anchorage device is not designed to withstand the load associated with a fall. Luckily, the experts at Gorbel have answered five of the most common questions around anchorage—keeping both your workers and your products safe and secure.

1. What is Anchorage? Anchorage is a secure point to attach a lifeline, lanyard, deceleration device, or any other fall arrest or rescue system. Anchorage points include structural steel members, pre-cast concrete beams, and wooden trusses.

2. What do I need for proper anchorage? An anchorage connector (or an anchor). An anchorage connector is a piece of equipment used as a safe means of attachment for the lanyard or lifeline to the anchorage, such as cable and synthetic slings, roof anchors, trolleys, and beam clamps.

3. Where is the anchorage connector installed? That depends. Every workplace is different but there are some common places to avoid installing the anchor. Generally, anchor points at feet level significantly increase the free fall distance in the event of a fall. As such it's best not to install them at that height. Likewise, anchors located directly to the side of the work area can increase the danger of "swing falls" where the user swings to the attachment point should a fall occur. If a wall or other structure is in the area, the system may arrest the fall but cause injuries as the worker crashes into the obstacle directly below the anchorage point. When installing an anchor it is best to consult and expert who can correctly identify the proper anchor points for each unique workplace.

4. What's new in the marketplace? One of the newest advances in the market are enclosed track systems that are designed with the work being performed in mind. These systems are normally installed overhead and feature a smooth running trolley that runs inside the track in order to keep the anchorage point directly overhead. Many times these systems are utilized in the same areas as material handling cranes, but may be moved to the side when not in use to allow complete mobility for the material handling crane. Systems can be customized with multiple track configurations to allow workers to pass one another as needed so that productivity is kept at maximum levels.

5. What can I use to make it easier? There are a number of product on the market that are designed exclusively to make the selection of a proper anchorage point as easy as possible, ranging from fall arrest trolleys that ride along a standard I-Beam to wire rope systems designed to allow workers horizontal mobility while the job is being performed. Gorbel also offers a free anchorage assessment to help eliminate any confusion regarding which anchorage connector to use. If your workers are currently using ladder rungs, piping, or other items not built for fall arrest, take the anchorage assessment and be on your way to a safer, more productive workplace.

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