ABC’s of Personal Fall Protection
The basic elements of any fall protection system are A for anchorage, B for body support and C for connectors.
Active fall protection system
A means of providing fall protection that requires employees to actively wear and use fall protection equipment, and which requires training.
A secure point of attachment for lifelines, lanyards, or deceleration devices.
A means of attaching a personal fall arrest, fall restraint, work Positioning or rescue system to the anchorage that comes in many common types including anchor slings, roof anchors, beam clamps, rail sliders, trolleys, eyebolts and shepherd hooks.
American National Standards Institute- is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems and personnel in the United States.
ASTM International (Formerly: American Society for Testing and Materials)
An international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems and services.
ATEX is the name given to a set of European Directives relating to Hazardous Area Installations (Flammable Atmospheres) that takes its name from the French "Atmosphères Explosibles".It spells out a set of Essential Health & Safety Requirements (EHSR) which when followed should enable everyone in the industry to operate safely and to avoid incident. Two separate directives have been introduced covering Equipment (94/9/EC) and Safety of Working Operations (1999/92/EC).
--Directive 94/9/EC applies to all equipment and protective systems to be used in potentially explosive atmospheres.
--Directive 99/92/EC refers to the minimum requirements for the improvement of health and safety at work for employees.
OSHA: A person approved or assigned by the employer to perform a specific type of duty or duties or to be at a specific location or locations at the jobsite.
– The end user for fall protection equipment who has been trained to utilize and inspect fall protection equipment.
An employee who has been trained to perform or assist with rescues.
Automatic descent control device
A device that, once engaged, lowers personnel at a controlled rate.
Also known as the dorsal attachment or dorsal D-ring. Attachment point that is located on the back of the full-body harness, positioned between the shoulder blades.
A secure point of attachment for lifelines, lanyards, or deceleration devices.
Means straps which may be secured about the employee in a manner that will distribute the fall arrest forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest and shoulders with means for attaching other components of a personal fall arrest system.
Comes in the form of a full body harness that provides a connection point on the worker for the personal fall arrest system. Depending on the application, they can be used as part of a system to protect the worker from falling and to limit the extent of potential injury in case of a fall.
A link with a locking gate that is normally closed or automatically closes, and is used to connect components of a fall protection system. Also noted as a Karabiner Certified anchorage An anchorage that a qualified person determines to be capable of supporting fall arrest forces.
A vertical fall protection system that assists the user in the ascent or descent of a fixed ladder to reduce fatigue.
To determine the required fall clearance add the appropriate factors together, this will give you the safe required distance (RD) below the working surface for work which is to be carried out where there is any risk of falling. Calculation: free fall distance energy absorber deceleration distance clearance to obstruction during fall arrest
OSHA: One who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous to employees and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.
-Usually the day-to-day supervisor of individuals who work at heights. He or she conducts the fall hazard survey and identifies new and existing fall hazards and how to protect employees exposed to each hazard. The competent person may also supervise the selection, installation, use and inspection of non-certified anchorages in jurisdictions where this is permitted and verify that current systems are in compliance with applicable standards. He or she also ensures a rescue plan is in place for a fallen worker, participates in accident investigations, inspects equipment and removes from service damaged or otherwise unusable equipment.
An individual who develops procedures and methods for conducting a rescue for each foreseeable fall hazard prior to the commencement of work, ensures that the authorized rescuers have been properly trained and are proficient at performing rescues, and identifies the resources necessary to conduct a rescue and verifies those resources are on hand.
A device that is used to connect components of personal fall arrest, fall restraint, work positioning or rescue systems. Connectors include but are not limited to lanyards, snap hooks, carabiners and deceleration devices, and specialty systems such as self-retracting lifelines, ladder climbing systems, vertical lifelines and rope grabs.
Controlled access zone (CAZ)
An area in which certain work (e.g., overhead bricklaying) may take place without the use of guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems or safety ne systems and access to the zone is controlled.
An area that has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and it is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.
A system that uses weights to provide a sturdy support structure to offset the weight of a worker.
A component that is integrated into fall protection equipment, commonly found on body support and some anchorage connectors, which allows for the attachment of a connecting device.
Davit Arm or Davit Post
Davits are an alternative to the basic tripod. They have a variety of base configurations to fit a wide variety of openings and holes.
A netting system that is designed to contain debris. These systems are usually not rated for fall arrest.
means the additional vertical distance a falling employee travels, excluding lifeline elongation and free fall distance, before stopping, from the point at which the deceleration device begins to operate. It is measured as the distance between the location of an employee's body belt or body harness attachment point at the moment of activation (at the onset of fall arrest forces) of the deceleration device during a fall, and the location of that attachment point after the employee comes to a full stop.
The additional vertical distance a falling employee travels, excluding lifeline elongation and free fall distance, before stopping, from the point at which the deceleration device begins to operate. It is measured as the distance between the location of an employee's body belt or body harness attachment point at the moment of activation (at the onset of fall arrest forces) of the deceleration device during a fall, and the location of that attachment point after the employee comes to a full stop.
Vehicles typically used for on-site fall protection training and demonstrations to conduct drop tests and showcase the proper use of fall protection equipment
A system used to help safely lower a worker to a lower level of a structure or to the ground in a controlled manner.
Also known as the back D-ring. Attachment point that is located on the back of the full-body harness, positioned between the shoulder blades.
Also known as twin-leg lanyard. Two lanyards that are connected at one end. Used to provide 100 percent tie-off to keep the employee protected in the event of a fall at all times as he or she moves from one location to another.
Anchorage points on each end of the horizontal lifeline system.
Also known as shock absorber. An energy-absorbing unit that will limit the force exerted on the worker in the event of a fall.
A form of fall protection that is designed to arrest a falling worker prior to them striking an object or a lower level.
Fall arrest force
Forces exerted on the body when a fall is arrested.
Fall arrest system
Also known as a personal fall arrest system. The complete collection of equipment and components that is designed to stop a fall in progress.
The vertical distance needed to safely arrest a fall. When using a self-retracting lifeline, a minimum of 6 feet of clearance from the working level to the lower level is recommended. When using a lanyard, the required distance from the anchorage to the nearest obstruction equals lanyard length plus, deceleration distance, height of the worker and a recommended safety factor of 1.5 feet.
Any location where an employee is exposed to a potential fall.
A type of fall protection that prevents a fall from occurring. This could be done through passive (Guardrails) or active (Restraint) means.
Methods used to minimize injury and associated costs, both monetary and human, due to falls.
Fall protection equipment
Equipment that is used by a worker to prevent or arrest a fall.
A plan that is needed whenever one or more workers are routinely exposed to fall hazards. The plan must be developed and consistently audited and updated to ensure that fall hazards are identified and controlled and that workers are aware of all hazards and trained in the appropriate control method. The plan should also include a rescue plan for each fall hazard.
Fall restraint system
A system that prevents an employee’s center of gravity from reaching a fall hazard.
A system used to install and remove a fall protection device to an overhead location using a telescoping pole and adaptor tool.
The act of falling before a personal fall arrest system begins to apply force to arrest the fall.
Free fall distance
The vertical displacement of the fall arrest attachment point on the employee's body belt or body harness between onset of the fall and just before the system begins to apply force to arrest the fall. This distance excludes deceleration distance, and lifeline/lanyard elongation, but includes any deceleration device slide distance or self-retracting lifeline/lanyard extension before they operate and fall arrest forces occur.
A connector located on the front of a full-body harness in the sternum area.
A means of supporting the body with straps that fasten around the user and distribute fall arrest forces over the upper thighs, pelvis, chest and shoulders.
A passive form of fall prevention. Usually a barrier consisting of vertical and horizontal rails to prevent workers from reaching a fall hazard.
Any metal component such as a D-ring, snaphook or carabiner used to attach components of a fall protection system.
Horizontal lifeline system
A system comprised of a flexible line such as wire, rope or cable, with connectors at both ends for securing it horizontally between two anchorages or anchorage connectors.
A permanently installed horizontal lifeline that is built into the structure for use as the anchorage not only during construction, but also for maintenance and repairs later on.
A pre-engineered horizontal lifeline system that is easy to install/remove and can be used on more than one jobsite without damaging the surface that it is attached to.
A visual reference that a piece of fall protection equipment has been involved in a fall and should be taken out of service.
It is impossible to perform the construction work using a conventional fall protection system (i.e., guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system) or that it is technologically impossible to use any one of these systems to provide fall protection.
An inertia-activated reel that retracts and releases. In the event of a fall the reel locks.
Intermediate (HLL Reference)
Lifeline connection points that support the HLL at mid points and divide the overall length of the HLL into smaller spans.
A device used to connect a full-body harness to an anchorage or anchorage connector, usually made of webbing material.
The edge of a floor, roof, or formwork for a floor or other walking/working surface (such as the deck) which changes location as additional floor, roof, decking, or formwork sections are placed, formed, or constructed. A leading edge is considered to be an "unprotected side and edge" during periods when it is not actively and continuously under construction.
Lifelines (this could be for VLLs, HLLs or SRLs/SRDs)
A component consisting of a flexible line for connection to an anchorage at one end to hang vertically (vertical lifeline), or for connection to anchorages at both ends to stretch horizontally (horizontal lifeline), and which serves as a means for connecting other components of a personal fall arrest system to the anchorage.
A back-up safety device to completely stop a dropping load (material loads only, not personnel) if it breaks free from the main support line. It is typically used in conjunction with lifting equipment such as cranes and hoists.
A roof having a slope less than or equal to 4 in 12 (vertical to horizontal).
Those areas or surfaces to which an employee can fall. Such areas or surfaces include, but are not limited to, ground levels, floors, platforms, ramps, runways, excavations, pits, tanks, material, water, equipment, structures, or portions thereof.
Manual descent control device
A friction device that, once engaged, requires the user to control lowering speed.
Passive systems, usually designed to contain debris or for fall arrest.
An anchorage that a competent person determines to be maintain the strength required for the type of fall protection system to be utilized, usually beams, trusses or other suitably strong structures.
Pass through buckle
Is composed of two mating flat metal frames. The female frame is an open rectangle that is permanently attached to a loop at the end of a strap. The male frame is attached to the joining strap by passing the webbing through the two slots in the frame. To engage the buckle, turn the male buckle at an angle so that it will pass through the female frame. After it has passed through, turn it back so that the male frame lies directly on top of the female frame.
Passive fall protection system
A means of providing fall protection that does not require an employee to wear or actively use equipment. This includes guardrails and personnel-rated netting systems.
Permit-required confined space
A space that has one or more of the following characteristics: (1) contains or has a potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; (2) contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant; (3) has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section; or (4) contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard (such as a fall hazard).
A system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a working level. It consists of an anchorage, connectors, a body belt or body harness and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or suitable combinations of these. As of January 1, 1998, the use of a body belt for fall arrest is prohibited.
A netting system that is designed to withstand fall arrest forces.
A body belt or body harness system rigged to allow an employee to be supported on an elevated vertical surface, such as a wall, and work with both hands free while leaning.
A configurable device used to protect a worker at heights while allowing them to position themselves to comfortably and safely complete a task with both hands.
Individual responsible for all phases of the fall protection program, including its development, implementation and ongoing monitoring. He or she must provide guidance to all those affected by the fall protection program, assign all duties and responsibilities, provide training programs, participate in accident investigations and evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
OSHA: One who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work or the project.
–Often this is an engineer, or someone with extensive knowledge of fall protection physics and equipment use.
A buckle that allows for one-handed operation for fast and easy donning of a full-body harness.
Rescue Positioning Device (RPD)
A rescue or positioning system that allows the worker to simply raise or lower himself or someone else to a work level.
Equipment and components used to help a fallen worker return to the ground or location from which he or she fell, or that retrieves or evacuates an employee from dangerous situations or confined spaces.
An active form of fall prevention used to prevent a worker at heights from getting too close to the edge of a structure where a free fall could occur commonly includes a full body harness, lanyard and anchorage connector.
A deceleration device which travels on a lifeline and automatically, by friction, engages the lifeline and locks so as to arrest the fall of an employee. A rope grab usually employs the principle of inertial locking, cam/level locking, or both.
The exterior surface on the top of a building. This does not include floors or formwork which, because a building has not been completed, temporarily becomes the top surface of a building.
The hoisting, storage, application, and removal of roofing materials and equipment, including related insulation, sheet metal, and vapor barrier work, but not including the construction of the roof deck.
A system in which a competent person is responsible for recognizing and warning employees of fall hazards. A means of administrative controls.
According to ANSI A14.3-2002, it shall be operated entirely by the person using the ladder safety system. It shall permit the person using the ladder safety system to ascend or descend without having to continually manipulate the safety sleeve.
A deceleration device containing a drum-wound line which can be slowly extracted from, or retracted onto, the drum under slight tension during normal employee movement, and which, after onset of a fall, automatically locks the drum and arrests the fall.
Service Center (Factory Authorized)
A center that has been approved by the manufacturer to repair and certify equipment.
Also known as an energy absorber. An energy-absorbing unit that will limit the force exerted on the worker in the event of a fall.
A connective device used with a personal fall arrest system that features an integral shock absorber to dissipate the energy of a fall, limiting fall arrest forces.
Shock-absorbing stretch lanyard
A connective device used with a personal fall arrest system that expands and contracts following the employee’s movement. Helps prevent trips, falls and snags.
Part of the shock-absorbing lanyard that contains the energy absorber that will be deployed in the event of a fall.
A connector comprised of a hook-shaped member with a normally closed keeper, or similar arrangement, which may be opened to permit the hook to receive an object and, when released, automatically closes to retain the object. Snaphooks are generally one of two types:
The locking type with a self-closing, self-locking keeper which remains closed and locked until unlocked and pressed open for connection or disconnection; or
The non-locking type with a self-closing keeper which remains closed until pressed open for connection or disconnection. As of January 1, 1998, the use of a non-locking snaphook as part of personal fall arrest systems and positioning device systems is prohibited.
The distance between intermediates or anchor points for a horizontal lifeline system.
A roof having a slope greater than 4 in 12 (vertical to horizontal).
A condition that occurs when an employee is suspended in a harness after a fall, due to the restriction of blood flow. Can result in severe brain damage or even death and may occur in as little as fifteen minutes.
Suspension trauma straps
A device that can be attached to or is integral on a full-body harness that is deployed following fall arrest and used to minimize the impact of suspension trauma.
A pendulum-like motion resulting from a fall that occurs in a position located horizontally away from the anchorage.
Tie Back Lanyard
Acts as both the connecting means and an anchorage connector and comes in two styles. One incorporates an ajustable D-ring on the lanyard for attaching the snap hook and the other is designed for the hook to go around the webbing itself, which requires a specialty hook with a gate strength capacity of 5,000 pounds (22kN).
Alternative anchorage connectors for a fall arrest system made of different materials, including cable, web and chain.
Lightweight, portable devices usually used for manhole entry and retrieval applications.
Similar to a belt buckle, the worker inserts the webbing strap through the buckle and places the buckle tongue into the grommet hole and adjusts for proper fit and comfort.
An anchorage connector that rolls along the I-beam to provide horizontal mobility to the worker.
Also known as double-leg lanyard. Two lanyards that are connected at one end. Used to provide 100 percent tie-off to keep the employee protected in the event of a fall at all times as he or she moves from one location to another.
Unprotected sides and edges
Any side or edge (except at entrances to points of access) of a walking/working surface, e.g., floor, roof, ramp, or runway where there is no wall or guardrail system at least 39 inches (1.0 m) high.
Vertical lifeline system (VLL)
A system comprised of a flexible line such as wire, rope or cable, with a connector at the upper end, along which a fall arrester travels.
Any surface, whether horizontal or vertical on which an employee walks or works, including, but not limited to, floors, roofs, ramps, bridges, runways, formwork and concrete reinforcing steel but not including ladders, vehicles, or trailers, on which employees must be located in order to perform their job duties.
Warning line system
A barrier erected on a roof to warn employees that they are approaching an unprotected roof side or edge, and which designates an area in which roofing work may take place without the use of guardrail, body belt, or safety net systems to protect employees in the area.
Woven fabric used on fall protection equipment components such as full-body harnesses and lanyards.
Easily adjusted termination for wire rope cable, requires no tools to install and is 5,000 lb. (22Kn) rated.
A device that lifts and lowers loads and contains a mechanism that controls pay-out and take-up of the line. Provides a mechanical lifting advantage.
A portion of a walking/working surface where job duties are being performed.