The ABC's of Fall Protection - 2022
The three Components of a Fall Arrest System are also known as the "A, B, C's" of Fall Protection. These consist of the following. "A" - Anchorage Point, "B" - Body Harness, and "C" - Connector. Let's dive deeper into these three components and walk through the fundamentals of fall protection.
"A" - Anchorage Point
An anchorage point is what holds a person during and after a fall. Typically, this is something that is permanently attached to the structure where work is being completed. In most cases, a steel member is a preferred choice for an anchor point. Any bolts and washers used for the anchorage point should be inspected and evaluated for their load-bearing capabilities.
"B" - Bodywear or Safety Harness
There are specialty harnesses for every job application and industry. A wide variety of styles and complexities from basic contractor harness to padded harness. When selecting a harness it is important to choose the D ring configuration for the fall protection requirement for the type of work you will be performing. A Single D Ring Harness is sufficient for basic fall protection as the connector will attach to the back D ring of the harness. If the application calls for more restraint or positioning then a 3 D ring harness will provide side positioning for attachment of positioning and restraint lanyards.
" C" - Connector
The "Connector" is anything that brings the anchorage and Body Harness together. Connectors are designed to attach to the full-body harness and anchorage point, the connecting means is what determines the length of a worker’s potential fall.
Two key types of connectors:
A lanyard is a short, flexible line of rope, wire rope, or webbing strap with connectors at each end. Lanyards are attached to a full-body harness at one end, and to a deceleration device, shock absorber, anchorage connector, or anchorage point at the other end. Many lanyards include an internal or external shock absorber designed to reduce the force exerted on a worker in the event of a fall. Shock Absorbing Lanyard/SRL - serve to dissipate or limit the substantial amount of energy imposed on a worker in the event of a fall. During a fall a worker free fall at a rate of 64 feet in as little as 2 seconds and can be subjected to catastrophic arresting forces as much as 5k lbs. without a deceleration device such as a KwikSafety Rattler shock absorbing safety lanyard. Slow the descent and limit arresting forces to under 900 lbs.
A self-retracting lifeline performs the same function as a lanyard, connecting the worker’s safety harness to an anchorage point, but with one key difference. Rather than hanging freely, a self-retracting lifeline retracts automatically into the unit housing and must limit the free-fall distance of the worker to two feet or less. Because of the function of a self-retracting lifeline, it only needs to meet a minimum tensile load of 3,000 lbs.
Are the components compatible?
When looking to properly outfit your team, it's paramount to confirm that you have a product that meets OSA regulations, and it is best practice to ensure that all the components within any fall arrest system are compatible with one another. At KwikSafety we offer a one-stop-shop for you to outfit your team with an ANSI-TESTED, OSHA Compliant Product that is compatible with any SRL, lanyard, or vertical lifeline. You can purchase the SCORPION Fall Protection Safety Harness separately or the complete Fall Protection Kit which includes everything you need and is the ultimate bang for your buck with high-value PPE products all bundled into one! Each Kit comes with a: 1D Full Body Safety Harness w/ 6’ Safety Lanyard Attached, 3’ Cross Arm Strap Anchor, plus each has its own bags! Truly the perfect Construction / Roofing / Roofer tool kit for a great value.
Example: Best practice is to pair ANSI Tested and OSHA compliant full-body harnesses and lifelines that tether a worker to an anchor point such as the GATOR Roof Anchor or the GIBBON Grip with the COBRA Self Retracting Lifeline.
What is a fall arrestor? How does it protect?
These typically use fixed-length lifelines connected to anchor points, which restrict workers’ movement so that they can’t reach over an edge and fall to a lower level.
Unlike fall restraint systems, which protect workers by preventing falls, fall arrest systems protect workers by stopping them after a fall happens. Like fall restraint systems, fall arrest systems use full-body harnesses, lifelines, and anchor points. However, the lifelines on fall arrest systems are either energy-absorbing lifelines (EAL) or self-retracting lifelines (SRL).
How important is Fall Protection?
When it comes to protecting workers, prevention is the first line of defense. By implementing the A'B'C's and following the hierarchy of fall protection, you are helping to save lives, and keep your team safe.
Make sure you have what you need by visiting our Fall Protection Page on our website and reaching out to our customer happiness team that can aid in your purchasing the right gear for the right job. Be sure to visit our FAQ page for any questions and reach out to our customer happiness team that can aid in your purchasing the right gear for the right job.