In the past, workers at height were expected to take risks as part of their jobs. A can-do mentality compelled many workers to accept those risks with pride. But in more recent years, attitudes about working at height have changed as employers and building owners implemented federally required worker safety measures.
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“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That’s a saying that holds true in life and in designing fall protection systems. Basically, starting out with the best fall protection design means eliminating hazards in the first place.
Below is the hierarchy of fall prevention measures, starting from ideal to the least effective:
Good planning can save lives and money
A top concern for building owners is return on investment. Still many building owners fail to consider how comprehensive fall protection and suspended access design is key to getting the best return on investment. Why?
Knowing why the impact load matters could save lives.
Impact load matters because if a worker falls while working at height, the anchorage must withstand the forces generated to arrest the worker’s fall. A few factors that determine the impact forces generated on the anchorage when arresting a fall include:
What is a Fall Arrest System?
According to OSHA, Fall protection means a system used to arrest an employee in a free fall from a working-walking surface. It consists of a body harness, anchorage, and connector. The means of connection may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or a suitable combination of these.
OSHA published the Walking-Working Surfaces rule on November 18, 2016, and it became effective January 17, 2017, requiring building owners to have certified anchorages for workers using RDS whenever such suspended work is performed.
One single steel hook affixed to a brick parapet. That was all the 12-story building offered Gus Strats to attach his rope descent system to before he climbed over the parapet to clean the windows. Strats agonized over going ahead with the work, one of his semiannual window cleaning contracts, without safe anchorages to which to secure his ropes.
Under the shrill of drilling sounds plays inspirational music. Daniel Mensah works steadily and peacefully, looming deadlines pushing him forward, keeping him on task. With nearly 120 projects at various stages going on at the same time, Mensah has no time to spare.
Safety harnesses with retractable steel lanyard? Check. Safety glasses and work gloves? Check. Respirator for COVID-19 protection? Check. Summit Anchor Company workers remain vigilant as they install rooftop fall protection systems, as shown on their latest project at the Holiday Inn-Washington Capitol in Washington, DC.
Business as usual under unusual circumstances is not an option in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that is affecting our nation and our world. Summit Anchor Company is open for business, but we have made several adjustments to safeguard employees and provide our essential products and services to customers.