May 8, 2019 @ 2:44 AM

Day 2 National Fall Protection Stand-Down

ABCs of Fall Protection and Equipment Inspection


Yesterday we wrote about the Fall Protection Hierarchy of Controls.  That is eliminate the hazard before you need to implement further controls.  For Day 2 we will assume that you determined you need to wear fall protection or a fall restraint system.  Both systems have the same inspection requirements.  For a review each system has:


·     An anchorage connector.  What you use to connect to an anchorage point.

o  Note: Anchorage points need to meet a 5000 lb. limit for fall protection and 3000 lb. limit for fall restraint; or double the maximum intended load.

o  A connector could be a beam anchor, cross arm strap, tri-pod, etc.

·     Bodywear (a harness)

o  Note: Body Belts are illegal for fall protection, and are NOT recommended anymore for fall restraint, mostly because they are difficult to manage because employees feel that they are more “comfortable”—which leads to life altering or deadly events.  They are often used for work positioning by utility workers or arborists. 

·     A lanyard to connect from the anchorage point

o  The lanyard connects the harness to the anchorage connector.

o  Each lanyard has a different fall clearance for example:

§  A 6-foot energy absorbing lanyard has to have an 18.5 feet minimum fall clearance from where the anchorage point is to the next lowest level.

§  A Class A Self Retracting Lanyard needs to have 5 feet minimum.  Something to remember is that the regulations apply at 4 feet for General Industry and Marine Terminals, so you really need to use the Hierarchy of Controls.

o  Use a leading-edge lanyard for leading edge work, a regular lanyard over an edge WILL break.

o  Make the appropriate connection.


This above three points should make it obvious that training, education, and the designation of a Fall Protection Competent Person, and Authorized Users are critical in any fall protection program.


All of the equipment needs to be pre-use inspected by the user, and periodically inspected by the competent person.  The question I usually get is “Does it have to be in writing?”.  According to the regulations the answer is “NO”.  However, based on my experience when there is a fall protection injury especially in a “catastrophic loss”, one of the first questions the investigators ask is “Was the equipment inspected?” the response is then “Yes”. Then the next question is “Do you have proof?”.  If you don’t have proof, then it wasn’t done in the eyes of the law.  They usually assume you are lying.


All fall protection equipment has instruction manuals from the manufacturer and the inspection should include at a minimum those items.  Some major things to look for on the fall protection equipment are:


1.    Labels. If they do not have the manufacturer’s labels on it, then it fails inspection and should be removed from service.

2.    Rips, tears, or burns.

3.    Deformations in the buckles or any metal parts.

4.    Fall indicators indicating it was deployed in a fall.

5.    If it was used in a fall or for anything other than fall protection it needs to be removed from service.

6.    Frayed, birdcaged, or other physical damage.

7.    Overloaded with paint or other chemicals.

8.    Anything that just doesn’t look right, your life depends on it.


Why is inspection important? 

·     To prevent equipment failure and save your life.

·     To limit liability.

·     To demonstrate that you have trained people and are investing in your employees.


Fall protection equipment is a leading indicator of your company’s commitment to safety. Your corporate safety culture is a leading indicator of how it treats its employees in all areas and reflects on the end work product.  


Schedule your fall protection training with JCP Technical, our prices are reasonable as well as our ability to work around your schedule.  Contact us at or (845) 694-4170.


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