Small Business Self-Evaluation Checklist: Fall Arrest Systems

To provide optimum protection, a fall arrest system should be designed by a structural engineer experienced in the elimination/control of fall hazards. Similarly, proper installation by a contractor should be supervised and directed by a professional engineer who understands all of the challenges posed. Unlike a general contractor, a skilled engineer understands the dynamic force that a falling body exerts on cables, rails, and building structures and their ability to accept the loads.

This “Client Handout” provides small business owners a means of identifying potential problem areas that may occur with a fall arrest system. Any question answered “No” should be thoroughly investigated and corrective actions taken.

Questions Yes  No  N/A 
Is there a written safety program covering fall arrest systems, procedures, and policies?       
Have all workers been trained in the use and maintenance of the fall arrest systems?       
Do workers know the appropriate anchorage points for each task?      
Are all anchorage points stable, substantial, and designed to withstand the dynamic forces of a body in free-fall?       
Are all anchorage points for body harnesses located at shoulder height?       
Are anchorage points for self-retracting lifeline systems located overhead?      
Can a worker move from station to station, climb up/down, without exposure to a fall hazard?       
If a lifeline, lanyard, or self-retracting lifeline is not permanently attached to an anchorage point at an elevated work area, is the first worker up or the last worker down protected while climbing and traversing?      
Vertical Lifelines      
Do vertical lifelines have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 lbs (2,268 kg)?       
Does the system provide fall protection as the worker connects to and releases from the vertical lifeline?      
Is the vertical lifeline arranged so workers never have to hold it for balance?       
Horizontal Lifelines      
Has the horizontal lifeline system been designed and approved by a structural engineer?      
Have the anchorages to which a horizontal lifeline is attached been designed and evaluated specifically for a horizontal lifeline?       
Is the rope or cable for the horizontal lifeline free from signs of wear or abrasion?       
Does rope or cable for the horizontal lifeline have the required initial sag?      
Have clearances for the horizontal lifeline been checked?       
Is the hardware riding on the horizontal lifeline made of steel?       
Fall Arresters      
Is the fall arrester compatible with the lifeline on which it is to be installed or operated?      
Is the fall arrester equipped with a changeover lever that allows it to become a stationary anchor on the lifeline?      
Is the fall arrester equipped with a locking mechanism that prevents unintentional opening of the device and subsequent disengagement from the lifeline?      
Is the “up” direction on the fall arrester properly marked?       
Lanyards      
Is the lanyard length as short as necessary and, in no case, greater than 6 ft (1.8 m)?       
Are manually adjustable lanyards used when it is desirable to be able to take slack out of the lanyard?       
Does the lanyard have a shock-absorbing feature to limit the arresting forces to 500-600 lbs (227- 272 kg)?       
If the lanyard has a shock absorber, is it obvious to the user that the shock absorber has been deployed (e.g., Is there a warning label, broken pouch, etc.?)?      
Is it prohibited to tie knots from the lanyard to the lifeline?      
Is the end of the cable properly spliced?       
Have double-locking snap hooks been used?      
Is the snap hook attached to the D-ring, eyebolt, or other hardware in a manner approved by the manufacturer of the snap hook?       
Are snap hooks arranged so they are never connected to each other?       
Are full-body harnesses quipped with all necessary attachment points?      
Are Velcro type of closure prohibited from all load-bearing connections?       
Has the free-fall distance been considered, so that a worker will not strike a lower surface or object before the fall is arrested?      
Have pendulum-swing fall hazards been eliminated?      
Have pendulum-swing fall hazards been eliminated?       
Are all inspections of fall arrest systems performed by trained inspectors?       
Are written reports maintained of inspections?      

 

COPYRIGHT ©2005, ISO Services Properties, Inc.