Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fall Distance

Falls are the number one cause of construction related fatalities and have been for many years.  This is why Kinsley has a zero tolerance fall protection policy for employees that are exposed to a fall hazard of 6 feet or more.  Guardrails, warning lines, and personal fall arrest systems are some of the ways employees can protect themselves from fall hazards.

Personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) are made up of three different components; a harness, an anchor point, and a lanyard.  The OSHA standard 1926.502(b)(16)(iii) states that a PFAS must be rigged so an employee may not free fall more than 6 feet or contact a lower level.  In many instances a 6-foot lanyard may not be an effective method of fall protection.  When using a 6-foot lanyard you need a clearance of 18.5 feet from the anchor point to the floor below (View the diagram to the right).  Tying off overhead is the ideal anchor position but may not be possible in some scenarios.  If the anchor point is lowered and a fall occurs, the chances of an employee striking the ground is greatly increased.  Therefore, a 6-foot lanyard device, if used incorrectly, can give employees a false sense of security.

With new safety products coming out each and every day, Kinsley Construction has found a safer more effective way of “tying off”.  With the use of a double legged retractable we are able to reduce our fall distance from 18.5 feet to 11 feet from the anchor point.  The double legged retractable stops an employee within two feet after a fall, decreasing the free fall from 6’ to 2’.  Also, the retractable device does not have a deceleration pack, therefore eliminating the 3.5 feet of stretch from a 6-foot lanyard.

Double legged retractable devices will greatly reduce the chance of an employee striking the ground in the event of a fall, and that is the main purpose of a PFAS.  Kinsley Construction has already started phasing these products into the company to allow employees to work safer every day.

Rick D Brooks
CSP