The Top 10 Misuses of Fall Protection Equipment

Craig Galecka, P.E., CSP, for LJB Inc., along with Shawn Smith, CSP, U.S. Navy, led an afternoon session at day two of the ASSE Safety 2016 show discussing fall protection. In classic Letterman-style, the duo organized the presentation into a top ten list, discussing the most common fall protection equipment misuses.

ATLANTA -- Craig Galecka, P.E., CSP, for LJB Inc., along with Shawn Smith, CSP, of the U.S. Navy led an afternoon session at day two of the ASSE Safety 2016 show discussing fall protection. In classic Letterman-style, the duo organized the presentation into a top ten list, discussing the most common fall protection equipment misuses.

In the order of presentation, here they are:

1. Rebar snap hooks

a. Snap hooks aren't intended for loading, so Galecka and Smith recommend using anchorage connections.

2. Inappropriate Anchorage Strength

a. Most lanyards are not tiebacks, and using them as such can result in equipment damage.

b. Using a beam strap or beam clamp that is designed as an anchorage connector can alleviate this problem.

3. Insufficient Anchorage Strength

a. Most workers assume being tied off to something is better than nothing.

b. It's important to train supervisors and users to recognize adequate anchorage capacities.

4. Below Doral D-Ring Anchorage

a. Improper D-Ring anchorage can increase the likelihood of free fall.

b. If you don't need to stand while working at height, don't.

5. Twin-leg and Self-Retracting Device Confusion

a. Because they look similar, the two tools are often confused for one another.

b. Make sure you know the specification for twin-leg energy and don't attach anchorages to both legs at the same time.

6. Usage of Damaged and Recalled Equipment

a. Employees may not be trained on pre-use equipment instructions.

b. Make sure you conduct a pre-use inspection every time, as well as register the products.

7. Improper Equipment Fit

a. Loose equipment means more fall distance, and a vest that is too tight can become a choking hazard.

8. Self-retracting Device Leading Edge

a. Ensure equipment is rated for additional free fall or is edge rated.

9. Warning Line Systems

a. Warning line systems don't provide protection and don't meet fall safety requirements.

b. You can, however, double the anchor plates and ensure the lines are kept at least 6 feet from the roof edge.

10. Horizontal Lifelines

a. End anchorage can easily exceed 5,000 pounds, leading to improper intermediate anchorage.

b. Always make sure horizontal anchorage is designed by a qualified person.

Finally, one of the main takeaways from the presentation was the idea that PPE should be the last line of defense, not the first.

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