Accidents due to falls are amongst the most dangerous work-related incidents. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that proper measures to prevent falls are taken when working at heights. This could be setting up scaffolding and guardrails, or use of a lift or personal fall protection equipment. Personal fall protection equipment can be used for short-term assignments where the work otherwise could not be conducted safely. There are 3 main types designed to:
1. Prevent people from falling (Restraint)
2. Secure the working position in height to minimise falling (Work positioning)
3. Catch falling people (Fall arrest)
A proper solution for fall protection includes choosing a product and making a decision about the following:
1. Anchor point
2. The connection between the anchor and the person.
3. Harness on the person.
|FALL PROTECTION SYSTEMS|
|Restraint||Work position||Fall arrest|
|A||The anchor point must be abe to withstand 12 kN|
|B||Short line or positioning rope||Positioning rope|
Fall protection with shock
|C||Belt or harness w. belt||Belt or harness w. belt||Harness|
|D||It is always important to improve your contingency plan and to have proper rescue equipment available.|
AT-guide D.5.5-3 – 1st july 2007 – updated october 2016
|E||Relevant but to a lesser extent||Important||Very important|
A. ANCHOR POINT
Must be able to withstand a load of 12 kN for one person. The anchor point may be a natural part of the structure one works on, for example a rafter, but it can also be a set point intended for fall protection equipment, such as a strap, tripod, eye bolt or stationary installation.
B. CONNECTION BETWEEN ANCHOR AND PERSON
Links in the form of snap hooks or special hooks are generally mounted between the harness and the anchor point. They are available as manually operated self-locking, where they are opened in two or three steps. Less experienced people should choose self-locking snap hooks. Positioning ropes and short lines may not be used to arrest a fall, but only to prevent people from falling. Shock absorbers may not exceed 2 m. They are used for stopping a fall, where they absorb some of the gravitational energy, so the person is not exposed to a load greater than 6 kN. Shock absorbers may only be used in places where there is 4-6 m of ground clearance underneath. Fall protection systems are available as full and semi-automatic. The best fall protection is fall arrest blocks that keep the line tight during work and stop immediately if you stumble or fall. Installations constitute fixed fall protection equipment securing the user on his/her route at heights, for example in wind turbine towers, electricity poles, on ladders, and roofs. Installations are set up only if the fall protection system must be used repeatedly and are usually made of steel wire or steel rails. The equipment must be wind and weather resistant. Installations should be erected by competent and authorised personnel.
C. HARNESS ON PERSON
Harness with straps on the chest, bottom and thighs are used for catching falling persons, lowering and lifting people in wells or silos, or for securing one’s working position if the harness has a belt. The fall protection must be attached in such a way that the person hangs upright after a fall. When work is carried out, the harness, and particularly the leg straps, must fit tightly. Always choose a harness that is easy to take on and off, easy to adjust, and comfortable to use. Belts with D-rings on the side are used for preventing falls and securing the working position. Can be used, for instance, for work on poles or ladders, or for limiting the movement towards an edge. A harness with belt and D-rings on the side can also be used for work on poles. Belts are highly dangerous if used to stop a fall.
Before working with fall protection equipment, it is important to develop an emergency rescue plan if an accident should happen. The fall protection equipment ensures that the user will be caught after a fall. However, someone hanging in a harness can get injured quickly, so a thorough emergency rescue plan is needed to prevent this from happening. Rescue and evacuation equipment is designed for hauling and/or lowering one or two people at the same time. The equipment can operate automatically, so inexperienced people can hook on and be lowered under controlled conditions. It can also be necessary to operate the equipment manually, which usually requires thorough learning and frequent training to avoid panicking when an accident occurs.
The following is stated in AT guide D.5.5-3 1st of July 2007 (updated October 2016) on Fall Protection: 'Before using fall protection equipment, the user must have received instruction in the use of the equipment and information about the dangers of not using it. Furthermore, the user must also be trained in using the equipment and, if applicable, must practice using it regularly.' This depends, of course, on the nature of the task and the selected equipment, but sufficient instruction in the proper use of the equipment is an essential element of a proper fall protection system. ICM has employees who teach teams or individuals in the proper use of fall protection and evacuation equipment. The training can take place at the customers location or at our premises.
Unless the anchor point is just above the workplace, you should be aware that in case of falls a person swings back in the direction of the anchor point, just like a pendulum. Before planning the task, it should be taken into account whether one is more than 30º away from the anchor point and thus at a higher risk of getting injured in case of pendulum effect.
The anchor point is above the workplace. Normally, up to 2.5 m ground clearance is required underneath the workplace.
The anchor point is next to the D-ring on the front/back. Normally there has to be a ground clearance of up to 4.5 m underneath the workplace.
The anchor point is at foot height. Normally there has to be a ground clearance of up to 6.5 m underneath the workplace.
|EN STANDARDS - APPROVALS|
|EN 341||Descender devices for rescue|
|EN 353-1||Guided type fall arresters incl. a rigid anchor line|
|EN 353-3||Guided type fall arresters incl. a flexible anchor line|
|EN 355||Energy absorbers|
|EN 358||Belts for working positioning and restraint and work positioning lanyards|
|EN 360||Retractable type fall arresters|
|EN 361||Full body harnesses|
|EN 363||Personal protection systems|
|EN 364||Test methods|
|EN 365||General requirements for instructions for use, maintenance, periodic examination, repair, marking and packaging|
|EN 795||Anchor devices|
|EN 813||Sit harness|
|EN 1496||Rescue lifting devices|
|EN 1497||Rescue harnesses|
|EN 1498||Rescue loops|
|EN 12841||Rope Access systems - Rope adjustment devices|
|EN STANDARDER - INTERNATIONAL ABBREVIATIONS|
|EN||Approved according to European standards|
|ANSI||Certified for use in the US|
|NFPA||Certified for the use of firefighters in the US|
|CSA||Approved for use in Canada|
|AS/NZS||Approved for use in Australia and New Zealand|
|EAC||Approved for use in some Eastern European countries|
ICM delivers fall protection equipment to companies all over the world. Therefore, the products must meet the requirements in the geographic areas where the equipment is to be used. All products are CE certified according to relevant EN standards. In our catalogue you will find abbreviations indicating where the product should be used.
Falling over sharp edges has always been an issue when working at heights. However, a CEN work group has now developed a method for testing equipment over sharp edges. There will be ongoing updates to the test method, but the two setups below briefly show how the test is performed.
Fall protection equipment must, as described in EN 365 and the AT guidelines, undergo a statutory inspection by an authorized or competent person at least once every 12 months. In addition, all equipment that has been subjected to maximum load or is in questionable condition must either be discarded or inspected, as it is no longer considered safe. Our many years of experience have shown us the importance of equipment undergoing the statutory inspection.
With a SAFETY SERVICE solution within personal fall protection, you get inspections and testing of e.g. retractable fall arresters, harnesses, belts for working positioning, straps, lanyards and guided type fall arresters as well as tripods. Equipment is registered in a journal that accompanies the product as well as in our service database, which means that you automatically get a notice after 12 months. The date also appears on a sticker. Our service cars also offer inspection of ladders as well as fixed rails and wire systems. We inspect the system, anchor points and pillars. We recommend that you sign a service agreement on fixed systems. If you have questions about your fall protection, you are very welcome to contact us on (+45) 70 606 606.
We have a large selection of tool tethering products.
in 2017, a total of 1628 occupational accidents were reported, in which people were hit by falling objects? Source: Arbejdsmiljø i Danmark.