Five More Common Mistakes when Using Fall Protection Equipment
Last week we took a look at five common mistakes that are made by workers using fall protection equipment when working at height. A fall from height is still the major cause of fatalities and serious injuries in the workplace here in the UK despite the stringent legislation we have. There is still a way to go when it comes to reducing the number of falls from height and we all have our role to play when it comes to using PPE (personal protective equipment) correctly and ensuring that the PPE is well-maintained and fit for purpose. As promised, here are another five common mistakes to avoid when working at height.
- Confusion – about the differences between dual-leg energy-absorbing devices and self-retracting devices. Although they look quite similar, both in appearance and functionality, these two devices cannot be used interchangeably. They are designed to be used (and therefore tested) for different applications. There are two main types of energy absorbing lanyards and we’ll have more details on these next week (follow us on Facebook or Twitter so you don’t miss the information).
- Using Equipment that does not fit – PPE should be of the correct size to fit the user as loose-fitting equipment will result in a greater fall distance whilst a vest that is too tight may become a choking hazard. To make sure that equipment fits the user correctly, here are five vital issues to check:
- The D-ring should rest between the shoulder blades – if it’s too high, it may hit the back of the user’s head during a fall, whilst if it’s too low it increases the likelihood of suspension trauma.
- Make sure that shoulder straps cannot be pulled off the shoulders in an outward direction.
- Make sure the subpelvic strap fits under the buttocks.
- You should be able to insert four fingers between the leg strap and the leg, but you should not be able to pull the strap away from the leg.
- Take a close look for any potential issues like loose leg straps or twisted straps to ensure symmetry of the PPE when being worn.
- Horizontal Lifelines – must be designed by a qualified person to ensure that energy equations are considered and that any system is designed, implemented and used correctly.
- Warning Line System Requirements – must meet the following requirements:
- Located every 34 to 39 inches off the surface (roof) and visible from a distance of 25 ft.
- Flagged every 6 ft.
- Tensile strength of 500lbs.
- Tip-over force of 16lbs.
- Misuse of Leading-edge Self-retracting Devices – only self-retracting lifelines (SLRs) designed for leading-edge (or that are edge rated) should be used. The lack of an energy-absorber between the edge point and the worker puts the worker at risk of receiving the full impact of a fall.