Periodically, Warren Engineers and Consultants are asked to perform inspections that require work at raised elevations. Typical jobs and tasks include climbing on commercial and residential roofs with steep pitches, working on scaffolding, climbing from one level to the next at a fire or industrial loss scene, riding in the buckets of lift equipment, and inspecting exterior structural elements such as windows and masonry.
Proper fall protection and prevention programs and equipment are necessary to insure the safety of our employees. In general, OSHA’s Construction Fall Protection Standard requires that anyone working at heights of 6 feet or more be provided with and use acceptable means of fall protection.
On July 13th, 2015, Kent Earle, with Capital Safety, brought his “Demonstration Truck” to the Warren Lab for a training session on Fall Protection. As a part of the training, we were allowed to inspect and try on various fall protection harnesses, as well as view live testing of fall protection gear from DBI SALA. We are purchasing some additional new equipment for our fall protection program.
Significant improvements have been made in Self Retracting Lifelines (Retractables). Some of the new retractables are smaller and lighter and as a result are more comfortable and convenient to use, providing greater freedom of movement. Kent Earle tells us the newer design retractables are the hottest new purchase in Construction Fall Protection.
The retractables we purchased weigh less that two pounds, but must be disposed of if involved in a fall impact because they are not rebuildable like some of the larger heavier weight retractables.
New anchorage connector devices and systems are available for an array of unusual or special job site configurations.
Full body harnesses are lighter and have new materials and design features providing for better comfort and fit.
For fall protection to be most effective, the individual pieces of equipment (harness, anchorage, life lines) must be properly matched to the job being performed and work as a system.
All of the above improvements in fall protection equipment and prevention techniques assist users by improving mobility and comfort, reducing distraction and fatigue, and also assist in minimizing the potential for fall injuries while working at elevations.
J. Steven Hunt, CPCU, ARM, is the senior safety consultant at Warren. Steve, who specializes in premises liability incidents, construction falls and safety management programs, has achieved the designation of Associate Risk Management and Chartered Property and Liability Underwriter from Insurance Institute of America, Chicago, IL. Steve has investigated more than 1,000 accidents in his more than 38-year career, including 36 cases involving fatalities. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Administrative Management with a Minor in Occupational Safety and Health from Clemson University.