5 Common Fall Arrest System Mistakes
A fall protection system is a crucial safety equipment that people working at heights must have. However, the equipment must be sturdy and strong enough to arrest a mobile weight. Besides, it must be installed correctly to be of any use.
Many injuries occur due to improper use of a fall arrest system. To work as designed, one must follow the engineer’s instructions and weight specifications to avoid the following fall arrest mistakes.
1. Lack of Proper Training
The first thing you should do after buying a fall arrest system is to train your workers. Unfortunately, most people fail to follow this crucial step. Any professional company selling fall arrest systems must provide the requisite training on how to use and maintain the equipment effectively. The training should cover areas such as how your workers should wear the equipment, and how to anchor it firmly to a lifeline.
A fall arrest anchor is designed to carry certain maximum loads. It is, however, common for the system to be overloaded. When this happens, you cannot guarantee its effectiveness. Since most fall protection systems are made to carry the weight of multiple workers along the lifeline, it is important that they only carry the recommended weight. If there are too many people using a lifeline, the overload will exert undue strain on the system and may eventually malfunction at the most crucial moments, causing injuries, or even deaths.
3. Incorrect Installation
To guarantee efficiency, always get a qualified engineer to install it professionally. You may have the right protective equipment, but if incorrectly installed, it would be of no use in case of a fall. Always use a professional to install your system to be certain it will work as designed.
4. Incorrect Use of the Fall Arrest System
Besides incorrect installation, another common mistake that most people make is using a fall protection system incorrectly. Apart from training your workers on the correct use of a fall arrest system, getting the right type of equipment is key to assuring their safety whenever needed. A properly designed fall arrest system should feature self-retracting lifelines, shock absorbing lanyards and full body harnesses. It is important to adhere to the features and specifications of a fall arrest system for optimal performance. For instance, you risk putting workers at peril if the length of lanyard is longer than what the design specifies. To avoid system malfunction and potential injuries, follow all the fall arrest specifications to the letter.
5. Failure to Regularly Inspect and Maintain It
With time, your fall arrest equipment will start to weaken as wear and tear kicks in. The constant pressure and tension exerted by heavy loads soon start to wear off your system. When this happens, the fall protection equipment may not function as intended. Regular inspection and maintenance is therefore crucial. This should be done by a competent authorized professional to identify any points of weakness in your equipment and, if need be, recommend a replacement.
By regularly inspecting your fall arrest equipment, the authorized designer can establish if it is in good working condition or not. Once the inspector has given your fall protection equipment a clean bill of health, you can rest easy knowing that it will hold until the next scheduled inspection. A missed inspection could mean that damage goes unnoticed, putting the lives of users in jeopardy.
Workers at construction sites and other elevated places constantly face the risk of suffering injuries from falls. Without any form of a fall protection system, there is no telling how many fatal and near-fatal injuries would occur at construction sites.