After the Install: Fall Protection Inspection and Training
With fall protection equipment installed, workers on the roof should be safe, right? Not necessarily. Training and routine inspections are a must to truly protect workers from injury.
Fall Protection Training Instruction
Just because safety equipment is available, doesn’t mean your employees will use it – or use it correctly. Improper use of a harness is common (e.g. it is too small, too big, does not properly fit, the inspection is not up to date, it’s outdated, or not properly worn by the user). Improper application of fall restraint equipment is another problem (e.g. using fall restraint lanyards in fall arrest). “One of the biggest downfalls is failure to train,” says Kirk Dighton, Safety Manager, D. C. Taylor Co., Cedar Rapids, IA. Thorough instruction can prevent these situations and save lives.
Your installer can familiarize users with the system and necessary personal protective equipment. This is a foundation from which more training can build. “After permanent fall protection installation, we make it clear that we want to provide training to all users of the fall protection equipment – their employees, subcontractors, etc.,” explains J. J. Longerbeam, Vice President Service, D. C. Taylor Co., Cedar Rapids, IA. Before D. C. Taylor Co. leaves the site, they typically provide two harnesses and instruction on how to properly wear them, as well as how the specific system is intended for use and appropriate means and methods to use it.
Workers must be trained on the use of the system(s) by what OSHA has deemed a qualified person, someone who has been certified by the system manufacturer to provide training. Users should be trained on:
- Identification of fall hazards.
- The basics of the installed system(s).
- How to properly put on a body harness, PPE, lanyards, connectors, carabiners, and snap hooks.
- Maintenance and inspection of the system(s).
- Storage of equipment.
- The dangers of improper use.
While some of this may be taught by the installer, subsequent authorized user training will delve deeper and even address rescue and descent in the event of a fall.
Training should not be a one-time occurrence. “If they’re not using it every day – maybe just to do a monthly job – it doesn’t become second nature,” says Dighton. Conduct refresher training annually, or any time changes are made to the fall protection system, the roofline is altered, or weather conditions and other hazards present themselves.
Fall Protection Equipment Inspection
Equipment can be impacted by wear, weather conditions, plant emissions, etc. and it’s critical that it’s inspected to ensure continued performance and safety of the equipment.
“Fall protection equipment should be inspected before each use, every six months by a competent person and annually by a certified installer,” says Longerbeam. Regular inspections are the facility manager’s responsibility. Schedule an annual inspection when the system is installed and continue scheduling a year out so it’s not forgotten.
A fall protection equipment inspection includes looking for defects in the system, such as:
- An anchor that is deployed.
- Missing cotter pins.
- Sag in cable.
- Frayed cable.
- Corroded cable strands.
“If a defect is found, we red tag the system(s) until replacement parts are ordered and installed,” explains Longerbeam. The red tag signifies that it has been taken out of service. In the case of a horizontal lifeline system or pass through system, it’s recommended that a lock be placed on it, so it cannot be used until it’s repaired.
“Performance of the system could be compromised, especially in inclement weather. Damage can occur without you knowing it. The time to find that out is not when it breaks,” cautions Dighton.
Contact D. C. Taylor Co. today at 319.731.4118 for fall protection equipment installation, awareness training, and inspection.