Fall Protection: Top 10 Misuses and What to Do About Them
- Craig Galecka (LJB Inc.) | Shawn Smith (Naval Facilities Engineering Command, U.S. Navy)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- June 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 52 - 56
- 2018. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 28 since 2007
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- Equipment misuse can jeopardize the often significant investment made in fall protection equipment and systems.
- Despite the complex requirements for fall protection anchorage, workers commonly connect to something even when the anchorage strength is in question.
- Even seemingly minor damage to fall protection equipment can drastically reduce its capabilities.
Fall protection equipment is the most visible aspect of a fall protection program and it can be the most costly. Unfortunately, these investments can be nullified due to equipment misuse or cheating (i.e., using the equipment outside its intended use).
Common fall protection equipment misuse issues are well documented in equipment literature, through standards boards and in safety-related publications. The following 10 examples of misuse were selected based on the authors’ personal experience and more than 30 years of observation in their roles as fall protection consultants. Each misuse is explained followed by recommendations for how to rectify it.
1) Rebar Snap Hooks
Rebar snap hooks, also referred to as pelican hooks, large gates or form hooks, are frequently used because they are large and can connect to many objects. Just as with other components, rebar snap hooks are tested and approved for use only in specific configurations. When used outside those configurations a risk of failure exists.
Rebar snap hooks are not tested in the same way they are used. For example, the larger snap hooks are not tested for bending and some manufacturers are now marking certain parts of the hook with “Do Not Load” to illustrate when loading is outside the equipment’s intended use. When these snap hooks are attached to vertical members, such as guardrail and scaffolding posts, the potential exists for bending and loading of the area marked as not to be loaded.
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