Importance of Fall Protection Inspection


By Steve Kilpin, Recertification Manager, Safesite Ltd

A recent conversation with one of our customers made me realise that many end users are still unaware of their duties once a fall protection systems has been installed. In this case the customer didn’t understand the importance of having their line system recertified, as far as they were concerned all they did was clip a harness to it when they wanted to go onto the roof.

With this in mind I thought it would be worth explaining what’s required as far as the inspection and testing of fall restraint/arrest systems is concerned.

Legal Requirements

When it comes to a boiler or a car, we all understand the importance of regular maintenance and servicing.  These not only help guarantee the life of the boiler or car, but also ensure they are safe.  Fall protection systems are exactly the same; once a system has been installed it should be regularly maintained and serviced so you can be sure that when someone clips onto them, the system won’t fail should they fall.

fall protection

Inspection and recertification of these systems is much more than just ticking a box and issuing a certificate.  Once installed you are legally required to ensure that the system is safe to use at all times.  Depending upon the equipment installed, the following legislation and standards will help you to comply with your legal requirements:

  • Work at Height Regulations
    • Competency – Regulation 5
    • Inspection of Work Equipment – Regulation 12
    • Duties of Persons at Work – Regulation 14
    • Requirements for Personal Fall Protection Systems – Schedule 5
  • Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations
    • Maintenance of workplace, and of equipment, devices and systems – Regulation 5
  • Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations
    • Compatibility of personal protective equipment – Regulation 5
    • Maintenance and replacement of personal protective equipment – Regulation 7
    • Information, instruction and training – Regulation 9
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
    • Maintenance – Regulation 5
    • Inspection – Regulation 6
    • Information and instructions – Regulation 8
    • Training- Regulation 9
  • BS EN 7883: Code of practice for the design, selection, installation, use and maintenance of anchor devices conforming to B EN 795
  • BS EN 365: Personal Protective Equipment Against Falls From a Height.

What to look for

Fall arrest/restraint systems typically consist of an anchor point, a lanyard (fixed length if the system is fall restraint) and a fully body harness.  It’s not uncommon for fall protection systems such as these to be removed, damaged or tampered with, or in some cases for the system to be deployed.  As a result they must be inspected regularly and recertified in order to ensure that they are safe to use.

fall protection

The frequency of inspections and recertification will depend upon the system, frequency of use and environment, but as a rule we recommend that visual inspections are carried out before each use and that recertification is carried out at least every twelve months.

Inspection and rectification of equipment must only be carried out by a competent person and should include a full inspection of the system and associated PPE, for example:

  • a detailed inspection of the structural connection of the system
  • making sure the system runs smoothly over all intermediate brackets
  • annual pull testing of swage terminations in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations.
  • inspection of all shock absorbers
  • checking the cable for any damage, kinks or signs of wear
  • checking and tightening of all accessible fixings
  • looking for any signs of corrosion to galvanised components
  • pull test for all visible end fixings to concrete/brickwork/ structure
  • re-tensioning of the cable if required
  • inspecting lanyards and harnesses for cuts, stains, fraying or breaks in stitching
  • looking for signs of damage to fittings (e.g karabiners, screwlink connectors, scaffold hooks)
  • checking for damage to the sheath and core of a kernmantel rope (e.g rucking of the core detected during tactile inspection)

Where PPE is being used, it’s essential that the different items are compatible with one another. If a combination of PPE is being used, then the person selecting that combination becomes the ‘manufacturer’ and is therefore the responsible person.   PPE should be inspected prior to each use, but more detailed inspections are required at least every six months.  If the PPE is used more frequently, then interim inspections would be required every three months.

fall protection

Training

Ensuring a system is safe to use doesn’t end with inspection and recertification.   Everyone using the fall protection system must be adequately trained, this includes not only employees but also anyone deemed to be under your control such as contractors.  All those using the fall protection systems must also be aware of the correct PPE combination.

Whether being used as fall restraint or fall arrest, fall protection systems are vital pieces of equipment when it comes to work at height. Your responsibility to providing a safe working environment does not end when you install a fall protection system.   Equipment must be maintained at least once a year by a competent person/company and all those using the system must have the appropriate level of instruction, supervision and training.  If an accident does occur and the system hasn’t been maintained and inspected properly, you could be held accountable, especially if it’s found to be faulty and/or uncertified.

Finally

Whether being used as fall restraint or fall arrest, fall protection systems are vital pieces of equipment when it comes to work at height. Your responsibility to providing a safe working environment does not end when you install a fall protection system.   Equipment must be maintained at least once a year by a competent person/company and all those using the system must have the appropriate level of instruction, supervision and training.  If an accident does occur and the system hasn’t been maintained and inspected properly, you could be held accountable, especially if it’s found to be faulty and/or uncertified.

http://www.safesite.co.uk

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One thought on “Importance of Fall Protection Inspection”

  1. Good to spend some attention here. One can PPE ‘s such as fall protection with or without an armour better attach an official expiring date as this already excists withe the cables and pulleys for lifting and moving materials.

    Like

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