Factors to Consider When Selecting the Right Connecting Device for Your Needs
Connecting devices are an essential component of a personal fall arrest system (PFAS) that provides a critical link to join the body harness to the anchorage connector. These devices can be self-retracting lifelines, energy-absorbing lanyards, retrieval systems, or rope grabs. This piece focuses on the critical factors to consider when selecting a PFAS connecting device to use when working on potentially risky areas as far as fall protection is concerned. Please read on.
- Quality and Regulations
There are several PFAS connecting devices available in the market; some are of better quality than others. Some manufacturers and suppliers are just after making more and more profits, and this might result in the production of poor quality products that do not conform to the standards set by OSHA and ANSI. Ensure to check the quality of your product and if the supplier is certified to conduct its operations before making your purchase. Gambling on your safety or that of your workers can be the worst thing to do.
- Compatibility of the System Component
As mentioned in our previous text, there are three components of a PFAS; anchors, body harness, and connecting devices, and must all be linked properly to obtain an effective fall arrest system. It is, therefore, advisable that you design test your fall arrest system as a complete system to enhance compatibility. Different components from different manufacturers may be non-interchangeable and incompatible with one another. This can easily cause roll-out, putting your safety at risk.
How will you gain access to your work area? Ensure to look for the appropriate lifeline and harness connector, especially if you want to reach areas that can be accessed by ladders only. Greater mobility can sometimes be an issue, and you may need to use a self-retracting lifeline for convenience. Ensure to use a proper barrier for flat roof when accessing some areas in the roof.
- Potential Fall Distance
In the event of a fall, it’s essential to ensure that the victim will not free fall more than 6 feet or come in contact with any lower level. Free falling more than 6 feet will put the victim at risk of suffering from injuries like a broken neck. The PFAS will also be useless if the victim comes in contact with lower levels. It’s important that you be keen on the forces to ensure they do not exceed 1800 pounds - you can use a deceleration device.
- Application and Environmental Conditions
There are quite a number of situations that need to be checked when it comes to application and environmental conditions. Will the device be affected by the presence of dirt, moisture, acids, oil, grease, temperature or certain obstructions & hazards? Are there any physical limitations and challenges in the space you’ll be working? Ensure to check if you’ll need restraint or free fall protection. Also, inquire to see if the connecting device will be suitable for use in such possible conditions.
- Project Scale
What is the scale of your project, is it 3 stories up or 5? Your project scale will determine the size of lifeline or lanyard needed. Larger scale projects may require heavy-duty lifelines and you may be forced to use heavyweight models that can reduce your mobility while working and could increase your chances of experiencing fatigue.
When looking for a PFAS system, consider consulting a fall protection professional, especially when you have little or no knowledge about the existing systems or if you cannot find a particular system. The expert can custom design a new system to meet your needs. All the best!