The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) reports that falls remain a leading cause of occupational injury and mortality nationwide. The industries cited for OSHA violations include wholesalers, specialty trade contractors, civil engineering and building construction, real estate, equipment and machinery repair and building maintenance. Here are some examples of why and how fall-from-a-ladder accidents happen: workers utilized the wrong type of ladder for their job assignment (ladders were too heavy for the job, which caused sprains and strains); workers used a wrong way of leveling ladders (boards or bricks instead of leveling devices); employees tried to over-reach which caused trip-and-fall accidents (they should have added outriggers to the bottom of an extension ladder to increase the footprint or just moved a ladder closer to the job area).
It doesn’t take expensive equipment to prevent these kinds of accidents. All it takes is common sense, backed by effective training and a thorough development and enforcement of best practices.
Working on and around stairs and ladders is common to many workplaces. Basic safety rules that apply to most tools also apply to ladders. And because it seems like an ordinary tool to use, most workers do not take them seriously which increases their chances of getting injured while using ladders.
Here are the main requirements:
OSHA requires that portable wood ladders be inspected frequently. Before using a ladder, inspect it to make sure it is in a good working condition.
Ladder Inspection Checklist:
Fixed ladders are ones that can be fixed in place on a building; portable ladders are movable. If you require a portable ladder, assess whether you need a self-supporting ladder, like an “A” frame, or a straight or extension ladder.
Since ladders are usually not assigned to a particular worker, consider buying a ladder suitable for the heaviest person in your team. Ladders are rated at 200, 225, 250, 300, and 375 lbs of the maximum recommended total load (including worker’s weight, clothes, tools, shoes, and the load a worker is carrying). Construction jobs should use a Type 1, 1A, or 1AA, which hold up to 250, 300, and 375 pounds, respectively.
Fiberglass ladders are best for electrical work since they are non-conductive. Aluminum ladders are lighter and more durable than wooden ladders, but their disadvantage is that they cannot be used around electricity. When using a wooden ladder, be sure it’s treated but not painted so you can tell if the ladder structure is sound. Defects may be hidden by the paint. Wood preservatives or clear coatings are usually safe.
If you have a 6’ step ladder, don’t climb above the 4th step. Step ladders are not designed for climbing to the roof, use an extension and a lean-to ladder instead.
According to the American Ladder Institute, workers can reduce chances of falling during a climb by:
Workers who use ladders are at high risk of injury or death from falls. This hazard can be eliminated or substantially reduced by following the safety regulations mentioned above, and by the enforcement of these best practices in the workplace.
Learn about OSHA Safety and Health regulations for construction; specifically the use of ladders at work sites.
OSHA Quick Card: Portable Ladder Safety offers instructions on preventing falls from portable ladders.
Many workers are required to spend hours on their feet during their work shifts. Did you know that excessive standing is as detrimental to your health as prolonged sitting? The usual complaints are lower back and knee pain, shoulder and neck stiffness, sore feet as a result of too much standing at work. To reduce the negative effects, it is recommended to change working positions frequently, avoid extreme stretching, allow regular rest periods, and use anti-fatigue standing mats.
By law, employers must provide a healthy and safe environment for everyone in the workplace. This is why in working environments where employees stand for a long time, employers should provide anti-fatigue mats that will significantly reduce the chances of getting a workplace muscular skeletal disorder (WMSD). Studies have shown that the use of specially designed anti-stress and anti-fatigue mats eliminate discomfort. With so many mats available to choose from, how do you know which one is the best for you?
In damp environments, some types of mats could absorb moisture and potentially breed bacteria or mold. An open-surface mat that provides good drainage or a sealed mat with a textured surface will work in this case. This is particularly problematic in workplaces where various chemicals are being handled. It is important to verify that the materials from which the mat is made and the chemicals being handled in the area will not start a chemical reaction and will not cause mat deterioration.
If the workers are walking more often than standing, a firmer mat is needed to avoid sinking in with each step. For those who are kneeling a lot while performing their work assignments, an extra-cushioned kneeling mat is recommended.
Work mats come standard in rectangular and square shapes and are available in various sizes. To avoid tripping hazards, sometimes customized mat sizing might be a better solution for a large area, or when mat installation is needed under heavy equipment.
Another thing to keep in mind is that mats that will be heavily used have to be of the highest quality possible to avoid the need to replace them frequently. Anti-fatigue mats constructed from various durable materials including PVC, nitrile, polypropylene, and natural rubber are available for you to choose from. A cost-effective mat solution can be a good choice for the situations when only limited use is expected.
Here are a couple of amazing, high-quality mats you are guaranteed to be satisfied with:
Working Concepts ErgoKneel mats are designed for all-day standing or kneeling. They are extra comfortable, durable and are proven to improve your overall health. These ergonomic mats are made of heavy, resilient, closed-cell foam rubber, and are non-conductive, resistant to petroleum, and will not absorb liquids. They can also self-extinguish if accidentally exposed to fire, and are great for standing or kneeling on cold or hard surfaces, like steel, concrete, or gravel.
The ErgoKneel 5010 Extreme Standing Mat is a workstation mat with tapered edges that offers great relief from pain associated with standing all day while operating heavy machinery at work, or doing DIY projects at home.
The ErgoKneel Kneeling Mat 5050 with a built-in handle is perfect for utility workers (telecommunications, plumbers), petrochemical workers, and electricians, or for use at home (gardening, DIY). The advantage of this mat is that it is easy to clean because it is made with closed-cell rubber not plastic like some kneeling mats so you can use soap, power wash, or even some harsh solvents.
Top occupations for WMSDs that could benefit from high-quality standing mats are nurses, aides, attendants, truck drivers, assemblers, janitors, cleaners, stock handlers, baggers, cashiers, construction workers, carpenters. Some of the benefits of using anti-fatigue matting include an increased blood flow, stress-relief on legs, the back, and joints, and the prevention of slips and falls.
For more information, check the selection of work standing mats at PK Safety and learn more from these resources:
CCOHS.ca: Anti-Fatigue Mats
OSHA.gov: Ergonomics: The Study of Work
Reason #1: Petzl gear is a highly respected brand in the climbing industry for quality and reliability. It will keep you alive, and it’s 20% off at PK Safety. Petzl equipment has been thoroughly tested, re-tested, and meets the relevant certifications as well as the approval of rope access experts around the world. Those are two things in our first reason, but how can you afford to buy anything less than the best for your dangerous work and climbing?
Reason #2: Free shipping. If your order is over $99, we’ll cover the shipping. So whether you need a bunch of OXAN Steel Carabiners or an AVAO Harness, we’ll put that order together and ship it out right away – for free!
Reason #3: Because of us. We are really nice, honest, knowledgeable, and easy to deal with (not to mention modest!). We work hard to make sure you get what you need, and get it when you expect it. You can count on us to get your Petzl equipment to you and answer any questions you may have. Feel free to give us a ring at 1-800-829-9580, or contact us online at email@example.com and we will be happy to help you out.
Reason #4: Timing is everything. Doesn’t it feel better to get a great deal? PK Safety is taking 20% off all our amazing Petzl equipment through April 19, 2017. Petzl equipment doesn’t go on sale often, so don’t let this opportunity pass you by!
If you have questions that our 4 Great Reasons to Buy Petzl From PK Safety didn’t cover, please give us a ring or contact us online Monday through Friday 6 a.m. – 5 p.m. PST.
Every month our Product Experts offer top product picks for a given category. This month we define our favorites for harnesses because they are some of our most popular fall protection products that are crucial for workplace safety.
DBI-SALA ExoFit Harness – The daddy of harnesses. Comfortable, light, a shining example of how well American-made products can be.
Delta No-Tangle Vest Style Harness – Nice mid range harness, universal sizing so you can lend it to a buddy and durable enough that you’ll get it back in good shape (assuming your buddy will actually give it back).
Latchways Personal Rescue Device – A niche product and the coolest harness on the market. It is so good that some adventurous people wearing it could be tempted to fall on purpose just so they could drop out of the sky like spider-men. But we don’t recommend that.
Check out our previous blog posts in this series.
Product Experts’ Picks:
If you have questions or need help finding the right fall protection equipment, please feel free to call us at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
CMC Rescue is known for excellent fall protection, rescue equipment, and training. The new FreeTech™ Harness is designed for extended wear and for various work and rescue applications. The harness uses a patent-pending SwitchPoint™ System, which provides a significantly more comfortable position to a fallen, suspended worker.
The FreeTech™ Harness is a figure-8-style fall protection harness that incorporates the patent-pending SwitchPoint™ System. This newly engineered system can save lives by substantially delaying the effects of suspension trauma in a post-fall situation. Many safety professionals assume that once a fall has been arrested, the fall protection system has been successful and completed its job. Unfortunately, this is not the case. A worker suspended in an upright position with legs dangling in a harness of any type is potentially subject to suspension trauma.
It’s an orthostatic shock or intolerance, also known as HHS (harness hang syndrome). The most common cause of suspension trauma is an accident in which a worker remains motionless and suspended in a harness. Leg circulation becomes compromised, then heart circulation and potentially diminished blood flow to the brain can occur. Typical symptoms, like pallor, sweating, shortness of breath, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, hypotension and numbness of the legs, usually occur after 15-20 minutes of free hanging. If the worker is not rescued in time, fainting and death due to the lack of oxygen in the brain are imminent.
Its unique release mechanism provides a way for the user to safely and easily transfer their body weight from the dorsal connector on the upper back to the front waist location of the harness to reorient the user into a seated position. This re-positioning helps the worker by providing relief from loss of leg circulation, which delays suspension trauma.
Other Prominent Features of the FreeTech Harness Include:
This item, like many CMC Rescue items, is made in the U.S.A. and is UL Classified to ANSI Z359.11.
OSHA requires that fall protection is provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry and eight feet in longshoring operations. Generally, fall-protection harnesses are application-driven.
This harness is ideal for rescuers. Safety, efficiency, and speed are the main principles of any rescuer’s work. You also have to factor your gear into this equation. A harness is vitally important for rescuers because they are in continuous physical contact with this piece of equipment on a daily basis. This is why if the harness is uncomfortable, it may disrupt the worker’s ability to perform their job. The FreeTech harness gives the user the features they need to avoid disruption and stay safe in case of a fall incident.
CMC Rescue manufactures and ships products out of Santa Barbara, CA the same day an order is placed. Today, all CMC Rescue, CMC ProSeries, CMC ProTech, and CMC/Roco Industrial Rescue Brand Harnesses, Straps, Packs, and Bags are manufactured at their Santa Barbara, California facility.
Today we invite you to take a closer look at what makes 3M DBI-SALA® Fall Protection products a great choice for all your fall safety needs. Fall safety includes any situation where you or your workers are in danger of death or injury in the event of losing your balance or grip while on the job. This includes climbing a ladder, pole or conducting a roof inspection, to doing suspended platform work, or being lowered into or entering a confined space.
DBI-SALA folks are masters of building tripods, winches, and harnesses. Tripods are used to provide anchorage during confined space entry, a rescue, as well as positioning, fall arrest, and material handling support. DBI-SALA aluminum tripods are lightweight and easy to set up. Their winches that are durable and robust, and their harnesses will keep you safe in conjunction with the other equipment. Virtually all DBI-SALA products include i-SAFE™ functionality. The RFID tracking software allows you to track safety equipment and manage your safety inspection program on any asset or fall protection products with i-Safe™ tags.
Tripods work well for lowering workers into confined spaces and also for retrieval. For most confined space entry teams, we recommend the DBI-SALA 7 ft. Confined Space Tripod and Winch Combo that meets all applicable OSHA standards. The benefits of using a complete system are obvious: you have all-you-need devices guaranteed to be compatible with each other. The components included in this popular unit are extremely efficient. For instance, the rated working load of this combo is 350 pounds for work support (raising or lowering equipment) and 310 pounds for fall arrest. Let’s review some key features of the combo’s components.
The 7 ft. aluminum tripod is lightweight, portable, can be easily set up by one worker and transported from one location to another very easily.
The Salalift II Retrieval Winch has a feature that is very unique to this product is that this tripod has rollers at the top. This setup allows the winch to come up through one roller, through the next roller and down which ensures an easy descent in a going down scenario. A simple flip of a switch quickly returns the winch back into a retrieval mode. This is a tremendously convenient feature. Most of other tripods use the hanging bits.
Want to see a live demonstration of this Combo? Check out this video.
Why DBI-SALA harnesses?
You can always depend on DBI-SALA harnesses to save your life. You just have to choose the right one for your application. Their advantage is that they are thoroughly engineered for a specific type of operation, and meet all OSHA and ANSI standards, including the stringent ANSI Z359.1. When you look for a harness, first of all, you are looking for the highest quality of the following parameters: dorsal connection, webbing, adjustment points, leg straps, pelvic support, stitching, padding, seat slings, impact indicators, and lanyard keepers. DBI SALA has the products and expertise to help you stay completely safe and comfortable.
Top 6 Harnesses – Choose the Best One for Your Application:
1. Are you a tower climber? ExoFit will be best for you if you are working on a cell, radio, water, and many other types of towers or antennas. It features front and back D-rings, belt with a back pad and side D-rings, removable seat sling with positioning D-rings, quick-connect buckles. Seat sling features cushioned padding for the ultimate comfort and performance. Back D-ring is perfect for connection to fall protection system and front D-ring is ideal for use with a ladder safety system. We strongly encourage you to use a 100% tie-off lanyard when in tower climbing scenarios.
2. The Wind Energy ExoFit Harness is designed for anyone building, maintaining or transporting wind turbines and similar equipment. It has a sewn-in reinforced lumbar support to ease the strain on your back and hips and all D-rings are PVC-coated to prevent scratches to the nacelle and other sensitive surfaces.
3. Check out ExoFit Iron Workers Harness with an excellent tool-carrying capability. Extra tough tubular web encases sub-pelvic webbing for added wear resistance for straddling beams.
4. Construction harnesses are made for general construction work, and have a sewn-in hip pad and removable body belt. This harness and tool bag combo provides space for tools, comfort, and fall safety in one.
5. Delta Oil and Gas Harness harnesses are designed specifically for workers who operate the monkey and tubing boards on oil rigs. These models include connections for an optical derrick belt, which provides comfort while positioning for the next drilling pipe.
6. Don’t forget about the Delta Arc Flash harness! This model is equipped with webbing attachment loops instead of metal, which makes it perfect for use in any industry where high voltage electricity is a concern. The harness is made with cut- and abrasion-resistant Nomex® and Kevlar® materials to make it highly resistant to heat – up to 40 cal/cm2. This piece of equipment meets ASTM F887-05 Standard specification for personal climbing equipment.
Despite special emphasis from OSHA, falls from heights remain a serious occupational safety challenge. The main reason: not using fall protection equipment. Don’t wait for a fall to occur before taking action to update your fall protection equipment.
If you have questions or need help finding fall protection solutions, please feel free to call us at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
Be Careful in Confined Spaces
Working in a confined space is dangerous because of the risks of asphyxiation from noxious fumes or dust, reduced oxygen levels, as well as fire and flood dangers. Where can you find confined spaces? Here are a few examples: water and sewer pipes, silos, utility tunnels, pumping stations, tanks, vats, pits, kilns, wastewater wet wells, sumps, vaults, storage bins, crawl spaces under floors, manholes, meter vaults, water reservoirs, boilers, tunnels, and grit chambers.
What you need to do in order to ensure a safe work environment in confined spaces:
What’s Your Rescue Plan?
There are three common approaches to a rescue:
Deaths often occur when untrained employees attempt to rescue an entrant without the proper equipment, and then get caught in the confined space.
After you close off the area, use a retrieval system to bring the employee out of the confined space. Authorized entrants are required to wear harnesses connected to a retrieval line. The retrieval equipment should be in place before employees enter the permit space.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the fall protection equipment. Harnesses used for fall protection most commonly are full-body style, have flat nylon webbing, and the point of attachment in the center of the back at a shoulder level. Tripods used for vertical entry most commonly are 8-foot or higher. SCBA Units (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) may be required to enter some confined spaces and to perform a rescue. Each confined space must also be evaluated to determine what other types of equipment may be necessary: communication equipment, monitoring and ventilation of space, slings, rescue baskets, ropes, victim stabilizers, and winches. After the rescue, it is important to do a post-incident analysis.
As you can see, there are numerous types of equipment available to assist with rescue. Contact us to determine which ones you need.
What Works Best in Confined Spaces?
We recommend kits that combine all-you-need devices to make any confined space entry safe, both for workers and for rescue teams. At PK Safety, we have made getting all the right confined space items easy by combining the necessities into our confined space entry system. You will get all the confined space tools you need for OSHA compliance with the following kit that includes DBI-SALA II 8300030 Winch w/ 7 ft Tripod, BW Honeywell GasAlert Max XT II, Blower/Duct Canister Combo 25 ft ED7025, and ExoFit Back D-Ring Harness 1107976.
For a more economy-minded users, PK Safety has also compiled a complete Confined Space Entry Contractor’s Kit that features OSHA-compliant products, designed for teams doing periodic, or occasional confined-space entry. This kit was featured in January 2017 issue of the “Cleaner” magazine. The kit provides all the confined-space tools needed for OSHA compliance. It includes BW Max XT II 4-Gas monitor, 8 ft. aluminum Protecta tripod, Compliant Protecta man-rated winch with 50 ft. of cable, Protecta Snatch Block Pulley Assembly 8003205, Allegro Blower/Ventilator with 25 ft. of flexible ducting, 5-Point full-body Protecta harness. It is ideal for multiple applications in tanks, manholes, and other vertical-entry work practices.
If you have questions or need help finding fall protection or rescue solutions, please feel free to call us at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
Reason #1: Petzl gear is a highly respected brand in the climbing industry for quality and reliability. It will keep you alive, and it’s 25% off at PK Safety. Petzl equipment has been thoroughly tested, re-tested, and meets the relevant certifications as well as the approval of rope access experts around the world. That is two things in our first reason, but how can you afford to buy anything less than the best for your dangerous work and climbing?
Reason #2: Free shipping. If your order is over $99, we’ll cover the shipping. So whether you need a bunch of OXAN Steel Carabiners or an AVAO Harness, we’ll put that order together and ship it out right away – for free!
Reason #3: Because of us. We are really nice, honest, knowledgeable, and easy to deal with (not to mention modest!) We work hard to make sure you get what you need, and get it when you expect it. You can count on us to get your Petzl equipment to you and answer any questions you may have. Feel free to give us a ring at 1-800-829-9580, or contact us online at www.pksafety.com and we will be happy to help you out.
Reason #4: Timing is everything. Doesn’t it feel better to get a great deal? PK Safety is taking 25% off all our amazing Petzl equipment through October 4th. Petzl equipment doesn’t go on sale often, so don’t let this opportunity pass you by!
If you have questions that our 4 Great Reasons to Buy Petzl From PK Safety didn’t cover, please give us a ring or contact us online Monday through Friday 7am – 5pm PST.
Harnesses are part of the program to provide fall safety while working at height. That’s their number one job. But comfort has to be up there in the list of requirements especially for folks who wear their harnesses for long periods of time each day. Delta harnesses have come quite a long way since the days when at-height workers were tying a rope around their waist.
Delta’s new Vest-Style Comfort Positioning Harness 110084 is the latest advancement to combine incredible comfort with modern fall protection. Delta achieves this balance by using modern materials, common sense, and knowledge acquired from feedback of thousands of climbers.
The Delta Comfort harnesses feature built-in shoulder, back and leg comfort padding, as well as integrated vent windows that allow for better air flow and circulation to cool down the user. The polyester webbing material of the straps is stiff enough to give some shape to the harness when you’re putting it on, but not to the extent that it becomes uncomfortable.
Of course, these new harnesses still feature the long list of advancements that define the Delta harness line, such as a fixed back D-ring, the 420 lb. total weight capacity, a rigid body belt and a hip pad with side D-rings, the tongue buckle leg straps, a durable, lightweight polyester webbing, the built-in lanyard keepers with a break-away feature, the Revolver-style vertical torso adjusters, an impact indicator, and protected labels (though I don’t know any climber who sees that a harness has the protected labels and shouts Hurrah! Still, somebody must like that feature.)
And just so you know, the Delta Comfort Harness 110084 meets all the applicable safety standards including OSHA 1910.66, OSHA 1926.502, ANSI Z359.1, ANSI Z359.3, Capital Safety Gen. Mfg. Requirements.
For more information about safety products, please don’t hesitate to call 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
By Mark Conover, Sales Manager, SKYLOTEC
SKYLOTEC introduces the SKYSAFE PRO FLEX Energy-Absorbing Lanyard series. These lanyards are designed to provide protection in 6 AND 12 foot free fall in a single lanyard. Other manufacturers require you to have two lanyards, one for each free fall distance. SKYLOTEC’s SKYSAFE PRO can save you time and money. If you ever tie-off below your dorsal D-ring or at risk of taking a fall greater than six feet this may be the lanyard for you. The SKYSAFE PRO FLEX also includes rescue web loops integrated in each leg for a strong and effective means of rescue. This lanyard also features a variety of ANSI tested hook configurations including light-weight aluminum alloy hooks or carabiners to meet your demands.
Customer’s Review: “Saved my life twice on top of a 4 story tower, and countless others’ lives. Highly recommend this item. You can’t put a price on safety, only a budget.”
If you have questions about the best lanyards for your specific applications, please contact one of PK Safety Customer Service folks at 800-829-9580, or visit pksafety.com.
By Mark Conover, Sales Manager, SKYLOTEC
SKYLOTEC presents the TOWER PRO AL as an innovative design in tower climbing harnesses with outstanding features that provide the climber fit, form, and function through technology. The FORMOTION comfort climbing design allows for optimal freedom of movement. Lightweight, breathable padding, aluminum alloy D-rings and click buckles make this harness the lightest in its class.
The TOWER PRO AL, feature-rich harness, also includes a padded seat board, removable tool belt with tool loops, lanyard parks, fall indicator, and belt load support. It is durable yet comfortable, strong but light weight. If innovation is what you are looking for then the SKYLOTEC TOWER PRO AL is the climbing harness for you. The TOWER PRO is available in aluminum alloy D-rings for lightweight performance or steel D-rings.
If you have questions about the best harness for your specific tower climbing applications, contact one of PK Safety Customer Service folks at 800-829-9580, or visit pksafety.com.
.It’s amazing how inventive people are when it comes to modifying and repurposing old things to be used as head protection. As safety gear evolves over time, employers must be constantly checking what equipment their workers are using to make sure it meets the standards set by OSHA. Although there are some examples of modified protective gear that claim to offer better protection than original products, allowing the use of non-standard gear for workers’ protection could result in injuries. It is the employers’ responsibility to provide proper safety equipment to their workers.
Proper PPE and technical equipment are especially important during rescue operations. Planning for a rescue of a victim requires several components, with safety being the utmost priority. Wherever there is a potential danger of a fall, falling objects, or injury in water, you need a helmet. Certified to major standards, Pacific helmets offer reliable head protection. These helmets are specifically designed for rescue operations. With an adjustable ratchet headband system, comfortable padding, and stylish shell design, these are the helmets that workers will want to wear. Here are the unique features that these hats offer: customization to specific requirements and preferences to suit various applications, durability, light weight, superior UV, heat and chemical resistance, a 6-point ribbon suspension harness, made from premium materials, and high-quality paint finish is available in red, white, blue, and yellow colors.
The ANSI Z89.1 compliant Pacific R5 Rescue Helmet With ESS Goggle Mounts 854-602 is ideal for those working in hot conditions. Made of a DuPont™ Kevlar® composite shell with unique resins, this helmet can withstand temperatures of up to 600° F with no deformation. The scallop-sided shell allows for easy earmuff accommodation. The ratchet headband with a 3-point polyester chin strap and a quick-release buckle keeps the helmet in place for a wide range of applications that include: wildland, rope rescue, high angle, windfield, arborists, EMTs, cave rescue, and window washing. For more details, check out the product manual.
Certified for NFPA 1951 and EN443, the Pacific R3V4 Rescue Helmet With Retractable Eye Protector 804-340 meets ANSI Z89.1 standards for safety. This helmet features a flip-down eye protector, an outer Kevlar® composite shell with a polyurethane impact liner inside, and an adjustable mesh cradle with a grain leather sweatband for comfort. It is a universal, one-size-fits-most helmet for a wide range of hat sizes (6 3/4 – 8). Applications include search and rescue, collapse rescue, auto extrication, and technical rescue. For more information, check out the product specifications sheet.
The Pacific R5SL Utility Rescue Helmet With ESS Goggle Mounts 856-632 has all the main features of the Pacific rescue helmets product line and meets NFPA 1951, EN443 and ANSI Z89.1 standards. With its unique ratcheting headband with merino padding for fit and comfort and built-in ESS goggle mounts, it is perfectly suited for light-duty USAR, rope rescue, and wildland. The product brochure is available here: Brochure: Rescue Helmet R5SL.
The Pacific R7H Water Rescue Helmet With ESS Goggle Mounts 815-32 is one of the best helmets for water rescue, collapse rescue, auto extrication, technical rescue, and window washing. Key features include a 2-point chin strap with a quick-release buckle that keeps the helmet secure, ESS goggle mounts, a 4-point nylon webbing cradle system for optimal comfort, and removable rubber plugs to keep water out and to ventilate the helmet.
Workplace occupational health and safety is an obligation that must not be ignored. PK Safety Supply is where safety matters.
Have you purchased one or several of the following products?
Capital Safety has determined that these following DBI-SALA Advanced Adjustable Offset Davit Systems manufactured before 1/1/16 do not fully meet some of the loads specified for certain davit adjustment positions as represented in the “Instruction for Use” (IFU) manual & product labels.
This is NOT a recall and there have been NO reported accidents or injuries related to this issue.
Please contact Capital Safety’s Customer Service department at 800-328-6146 (prompt #2012) or email ADVDAVITS@capitalsafety.com to request a Retrofit Kit be shipped to you directly free of charge. As always, we welcome you to call us at PK Safety with any questions at 800-829-9580.
Landscaping is a job that many DIYers who love to work outdoors take upon themselves. There are obvious dangers to this kind of work when operating heavy automatic machinery (rototillers, mowers, weed wackers, Bobcats, tractors, trenchers, and blowers) that we will cover below. Many creative home improvement enthusiasts and even some professional contractors are unaware of the potential hazards of landscaping.
“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure.” (Benjamin Franklin)
Be aware of hidden dangers in your work environment at all times, and be safe by following Landscaping and Horticultural Safety Guidelines and best practices provided by OSHA.
If you have questions or need help finding the right landscaping safety equipment, please feel free to call us at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
There are so many answers to that simple question. One answer might be the cheapest, but that one likely won’t be the safest. Far from it. And if you happen to have the pleasure of entertaining an OSHA inspector on your jobsite, it certainly won’t end up being inexpensive in the long run.
Completing your work without someone getting injured should always be a priority. No job is worth having someone hurt or killed. Some crews might say it depends on the worker, but we’re a safety company and prefer everyone to be protected equally.
A good tripod for many companies is simply one that meets OSHA requirements. No need for bells and whistles because it’s mostly sitting in storage. That’s fine. We understand there are lots of folks out there who don’t do regular confined space entry, but nevertheless need to be able to pass inspection when they do perform that type of work. For this group, we’d recommend a simple Protecta 8 ft. Tripod AK105A. This sturdy aluminum tripod retracts fully for easy storing and deploys quickly.
For companies looking for an all-in-one solution, the Protecta 8 ft. tripod is included in the Protecta Tripod Kit which also features a man-rated winch and mounting bracket, 50 ft. of 3/8 in. galvanized steel cable, and a snatch block pulley to guide the wire from the apex of the tripod down the middle of your confined space opening.
This type of set-up is not ideal for folks required to enter confined spaces regularly. It’s not bad, but there are tripods that are easier to set up, and winches that are more robust and allow for raising and lowering equipment as well as workers. For regular confined space entry teams, we’d recommend the DBI-SALA 7 ft. Confined Space Tripod and Winch Combo. This system also meets all applicable OSHA standards, but is an upgrade both in terms of hardware as well as ease of use and durability.
The Salalift II Retrieval Winch in the DBI-SALA Combo can be used to move up to 350 lbs. of equipment, or it can support a total combined weight of a worker with his tools of up to 310 lbs. It also has a freewheel setting which allows for much easier descent if the CS entrant is climbing down. A quick flip of a switch changes the winch back into retrieval mode.
If you know how often you’re going to be required to perform confined space entry, you’re on your way to answering our initial question of which tripod and confined space entry kit is best for you. Of course if money is no object, you probably aren’t reading this post. But for the majority of companies, they want the best equipment for the type of work they are doing at the best price. If you’d like more information, please give us a call at 1-800-829-9580 or chat with us online at PkSafety.com.
Lad-Saf is a name that has been around as a solution for fixed vertical climbs for years. The heart of the system is a flexible steel cable stretched between a top and bottom bracket in front of the ladder or climbing pegs. If you’ve got a top and bottom attachment point, you’ve likely got what you need for this sturdy, safe vertical system from DBI-SALA.
Workers attach a Lad-Saf Cable Sleeve to the wire before they begin their climb. It’s simple, and that’s likely the reason so many companies use it. Many vertical systems need an engineer to come in and figure out where supports need to be placed. The Lad-Saf system can be attached to virtually any fixed ladder to create a tie-off point for workers. It attaches with basic tools and can be installed in a short amount of time.
When climbing workers attach the carabiner to their front D-ring, and the cable sleeve follows automatically as they go about their work, only grabbing hold if a fall occurs. Unlike lanyards that allow workers to fall at least the length of the lanyard before engaging, the Lad-Saf system quickly arrests a fall, hopefully reducing or eliminating significant injury.
Lad-Safe can be configured to suit almost any application or structure. Depending on the ladder and the particulars of the location, the climbing system can either bolt on or be welded in place. These systems are installed all over the world. If your work takes you far afield, the Cable Sleeve Global Compliance meets safety standards worldwide. For construction of the system hundreds of attachment options are available to fit the unique properties of your site. While the Lad-Saf system can be kept up in all kinds of weather, it’s important to perform regular inspections to make sure the wire is in good shape and free from dirt, ice, or corrosion.
For more about Lad-Saf contact the fine folks in Customer Service at 1-800-829-9580 or visit us online at Pksafety.com
DBI-SALA recently made a significant upgrade to their Force2 and EZ-Stop lines of fall safety lanyards. The company has replaced their traditional shock packs with smaller, lighter absorbers. The new shock packs are 66% smaller and 44% lighter than previous models. That’s a major advancement especially for workers moving at height where every ounce counts.
For confined space workers, the less bulky lanyard shock packs mean greater mobility. The interior of the packs is made of Hi-10 Vectran shock absorber. This stuff is amazing – stronger than steel, it has high abrasion resistance, minimal moisture absorption, very high chemical resistance, and outstanding cut resistance. All in a unit roughly the size of a tennis ball.
Another big breakthrough with this line of lanyards is their modularity. Some of the EZ-Stop and Force2 lanyards have the capacity to change out the shock pack in the event of a fall. Since the rest of the lanyard is typically unphased by the event, DBI-SALA decided it would save companies money if they could simply swap out the used shock pack.
Lanyards like the EZ-Stop 6 ft. Web Lanyard are typical of the line. Lighter overall, with coated webbing, incredible durability, and proven to meet all applicable safety standards. The same technology is included in lanyards like the Force2 WrapBax Lanyard 1246173. This model is capable not only of foot level tie-off and handling a 12 ft. free fall, but also has reinforced attachment hooks which can be wrapped around an anchorage and hooked back to themselves. And of course, the same shock packs have been incorporated into their EZ-Stop 100% Tie-Off Lanyards.
If you feel like watching the DBI-SALA EZ-Stop & Force2 Lanyard Video go ahead and rock on, my friend. Rock on.
While this confined space entry video is strictly about a rank beginner, the gear the confined space training facility at Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) uses is exactly the type of equipment we offer at PkSafety.com. The spot features an attractive local news anchor facing her fear of confined spaces. Spoiler alert – she doesn’t freak out even a tiny bit.
The TEEK campus features state of the art emergency preparedness facilities and is home to the Texas Task Force 1 elite urban search and rescue team. The confined space entry and rescue tank even has realistic features like smoke to obscure visibility. For equipment, the video shows our intrepid anchor woman not only sporting solid basics like a Petzl Helmet with the Pixa 2 Headlamp, but also specialized access equipment such as the DBI-SALA Rescue Y-Lanyard.
And what better to extract a completely untrained, admittedly claustrophobic confined space entrant? If things go south with Ms. TV Personality, just crank her on up to the surface. No muss, no fuss. Now that would be some compelling TV. But nobody asks the blog guy.
The Y-lanyard attaches to a rescue-style harness with extraction rings on the shoulders. Since her anxiety didn’t seem to be that great (or she was controlling it really well – either way it’s boring) they strapped a SCBA or Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus to her back, cranked up the fog machine, and sent her back in. I think a few hungry rats would have livened up the scene and created a better test for her so-called anxiety. But again, my insight wasn’t solicited before (or after) filming.
If you have questions or anxiety about your next confined space entry, contact us. We’ll either set you up with the right equipment, or offer some helpful tips on how it could be way worse.
Some say there are only two types of confined spaces: Those you’ve been in before, and those you haven’t. And while things can certainly change even in spaces you’ve entered a thousand times, the need for solid anchorage is a constant.
Because so much is literally riding on the anchorage equipment you choose, all the gear we offer is from manufacturers with extensive expertise in the area of fall protection. Companies like Capital Safety and the brands under their umbrella such as DBI-SALA, Protecta, and UCL, as well as Miller and rope access and climbing experts Petzl all make products that can be relied upon for difficult confined space entry.
Petzl specializes in rope access and their equipment for anchorage is typically lightweight and easy to deploy. The ANNEAU webbing loop is a simple loop of extremely durable polyester that can be wrapped around a variety of anchorage points, and even with its very light weight has a breaking strength of 22kN (or 5,000 lbs.) in a static situation. It’s impressive, and useful, and easy to carry around with you.
Petzl also makes CONNEXION FIXE anchor straps which are also lightweight, easy to deploy, and a great way to form a secure tie-off point. The CONNECTION FIXE straps have a load strength of 35kN so with the proper anchorage point, you and your truck could likely hang from one if necessary.
If you have a connection challenge, or need more information about the anchorage equipment we offer, please please give us a call at 1-800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.PkSafety.com.
In addition to new requirements for manufacturers of self-retracting lifelines when meeting updated ANSI Z35914 regulations, companies using the SRLs have work to do if they want to stay compliant with the American National Standards Institute’s voluntary consensus standards. In creating this new standard, ANSI is trying to create a culture of SRL and fall protection inspection and certification across industries involved in at height work. It’s now up to end users to inspect and maintain their equipment if they want to stay compliant.
On-site inspection of a company’s SRLs needs to be completed by a competent person. ANSI and OSHA both define a competent person as someone who is capable of identifying existing and predictable dangerous conditions, and who has the authority to take corrective actions. This person is designated by the employer to be responsible for the immediate supervision, implementation, and monitoring of the employer’s managed fall protection program.
If it sounds like a lot of work and responsibility, you’re right. The person in this position has a very serious responsibility to both the company and the workers.
One of the new requirements for the manufacturers is to include some kind of visual signal to show potential users or a competent inspection person when an SRL has been involved in a serious fall. Typically SRLs with wire lifelines will have a red band around a portion of the self-closing snap hook that is revealed in the event of strain from preventing a fall. SRLs with nylon webbing lifelines have tear-away sections that show exposed red stitching after a fall. This is the first step in the SRL inspection.
To perform an SRL inspection, it’s a good idea to wear gloves. Metal barbs on the cable lifelines can be particularly nasty, and sooner or later you’re going to come across one.
After a visual inspection looking for impact tell-tales at the end of the lifeline, it’s time to check the snap hooks are functioning properly. They must close fully and when released. The carabiner on top of the device which connects to the anchor point must also be self-closing and self-locking, and close fully.
Next take a careful look at the housing. Make sure no cracks in the housing are visible, and check for missing or loose screws holding the housing and hardware together.
Labels on the housing must be legible. Model number, serial number, and date of manufacture must all be easily read, as well as the user capacity and other specifications unique to the SRL. Inspection records are also on the retractable’s housing. It’s important that records of these regular inspections are marked down and easy to read during the next inspection.
To make sure everything on the inside of the unit is functioning well, you’ll next need to withdraw the entire length of the cable from the unit. As you pull out the cable, make sure there are no cuts, burrs, or kinks in the line. With webbing lifelines make sure there are no burn holes or cuts along the length. Also look for dirt, grime, or residue that may impede the unit from retracting the lifeline completely. If the lifeline doesn’t retract fully, or if it sticks in certain places, it’s a sign that the internal spring may not be functioning properly.
If any of these tests fail, the unit needs to be removed from service, and sent in for servicing.
Another test your SRL will need to pass is the brake check. Give the lifeline a quick tug and make sure the braking mechanism engages. With cable lifelines remove the rubber bumper and check the connection to the snap hook. Look to make sure the cable crimps are all in place and there is no rust or abrasion where the boot covers.
If you have any questions about ANSI requirements or SRL inspections, please contact us Monday through Friday 6am till 5pm online at www.pksafety.com or give us a call at 1-800-829-9580.
In the event of a fall, traditional harnesses, lanyards and self-retracting lifeline (SRL) combinations can save a worker from serious injuries. However, they may leave workers just out of reach from work platforms. Rescue operations to retrieve fallen worker(s) are dangerous and the training for such scenarios aren’t the easiest to pick up right off the bat. On top of all that, suspension trauma is an ever present danger for workers left hanging for extended periods of time. The lack of proper blood flow to the body’s extremities can cause serious injury, even death due to lack of oxygen to the brain.
The Latchways R20 PRD provides an all-in-one harness and self-rescuing system that’s fully OSHA-complaint. Fallen workers (once they have surveyed the area directly below them and found it safe), can pull a parachute-type rip cord to activate a controlled descent system. An internal breaking mechanism kicks in to slowly unwind 65 ft. of high-strength cord to gently lower a fallen worker to the ground.
Weight and fit are big considerations for something workers likely wear for extended periods of time. You’d think this weighs a ton, yet that’s not the case at all. The Latchways personal rescue device weighs a surprising 8 pounds, making it light enough for regular use. With a contoured profile that’s perfect for small work spaces, the Latchways PRD provides not only a comfortable fall safety plan, but also ease of mind. It’s a big confidence booster to know even when working alone, swift self-rescue can be implemented in far more situations than ever before.
If you have questions about this versatile fall safety system and it’s applications in heavy industry, oil & gas, telecom work, or confined space access, please give us a call at 1-800-829-9580 or visit us online at PKSafety.com.
PETZL Professional safety gear is constantly in high demand. As a result, their equipment rarely goes on sale. For a limited time, save 25% on Petzl products from August 26th through September 8th only at PK Safety. Sale prices are reflected on PKSafety.com and don’t require a discount code.
All around the world, energy and network towers exist need servicing by tower climbers. Some types of projects these climbers work on include antenna installation, changing light bulbs and routine inspections. The job can vary greatly and be very demanding, especially when hauling tools and materials.
Tower climbers face inherent risks such as falling objects, structural collapses and equipment failures. Some of the more frequently encountered hazards include falls from great heights, electrical hazards, inclement weather, falling object hazards, equipment failure, and structural collapse of towers. To mitigate these hazards climbers use personal protective equipment (PPE) along with climbing equipment.
To protect against falls, each worker must use a fall arrest system. When building a fall arrest system, start with the harness that’s going to support you while you work or catch you if you fall. Also include a 100 percent tie-off shock-absorbing lanyard with a mobile fall arrester. A positioning lanyard, though not required, can also help with staying stationary instead of swinging while working. You’ll also need carabiners for connecting the harness and lanyards. Also consider rappel gloves for better handling and avoiding rope burn.
In addition to the equipment that keeps us safe from falling, there’s also headgear to keep workers safe from falling objects and head injuries. Falling objects may include loose debris, tools, or dropped objects from other workers. The Vertex and Alveo helmets are popular. If you’ll be wearing eye protection too, consider leaving the safety glasses at home and opt for the Vizir faceshield for Vertex and Alveo helmets. It attaches to the user’s helmet and swivels up and down.
When working on or around energized facilities, climbers will also need arc flash rated clothing and equipment if the system can’t be deenergized. Refer to our arc flash blog post for more information about the changing regulations and consult your company safety professional for training.
The equipment suggestions in this article aren’t to be substituted for training safety on climbing techniques. The ability of the climber to thoroughly risk assess and plan the climb is vital. Equipment selection is only one stage of the job in addition to safe access, secure positioning and emergency planning. Questions? Give us a call at 1-800-829-9580.
On average, there are more than 800 construction worker fatalities per year. Falls are the number one cause of fatalities among construction workers. Harnesses, self-retracting lifelines, and lanyards don’t always provide enough protection. What you may not know is that OSHA regulation 1910.23(a) requires protection for floor openings.
Garlock Safety Systems has been addressing fall protection and roofing needs since 1959. Garlock’s manufacturing facility features a highly skilled American workforce based out of Plymouth, Minnesota. Some of their innovative solutions include the: Roof Hatch Protector, VersaGate, SkyGuard, and ScreenGuard.
Roof Hatch Protector and VersaGate
The Roof Hatch Protector features three walls of double tiered railings securing the perimeter against people or objects falling through an open hatch. The VersaGate, included, completes the Roof Hatch Protector forming the fourth wall. Though the VersaGate may also be ordered separately in a variety of sizes with a universal fit for attaching to surfaces besides the Roof Hatch Protector. This item meets OSHA 1910.23(a) (8) and 1926.501 (b) (4) pertaining to securing holes that can be walked through.
The Skyguard sets up easily around skylights and floor openings. It’s ideal for venting or smoke-hatch skylight protection. It’s easy to transport between job sites or temporary situations. This item meets OSHA 1910.23(a) (4) and 1926.501 (b) (4) pertaining to securing skylights and holes.
ScreenGuards come in seven standard sizes though custom sizes may be made to order. They prevent objects or workers from damaging or falling through the skylight with a minimum load rating of 500 lbs. (may be greater depending on size of ScreenGuard).
The unit may be attached with a compression fit and doesn’t require penetrating fasteners, adhesive or tape. This item meets OSHA 1910.23(a) (4) and 1926.501 (b) (4) pertaining to securing skylights and holes.
One in three construction fatalities is caused by a fall. Safety doesn’t happen by accident. By securing hatches, holes, and skylights, you aren’t just being OSHA compliant. You are also ensuring that your workforce returns home safe and mitigating the potential for injury related lawsuits and fines.
Contact with objects” incidents are the 3rd highest cause of death in the workplace. When it comes to a defense against falling tools, people often rely on hard hats, tool nets, and toe boards. In the last annual Bureau of Labor Statistics report, 52,260 workers were struck by falling objects. That’s just the incidents that were reported to OSHA, the real number is likely much higher.
Since the year 2000, Python Safety has been addressing the need for protection against falling objects. Python third party tests its products with Applied Technical Services (ATS), an Atlanta-based consulting engineering firm with sophisticated testing and inspection capabilities. Python is now a subsidiary of Capital Safety.
Python primarily addresses the need for falling tool protection with products that create a tethering system between the tool (attachment point) and the person. Their offerings can accommodate tools up to 85 lbs (38.5 kgs). Attachment point types vary depending on the type of tool. Their most popular attachment points are generally a lanyard with a D-ring. The D-ring is connected to the person while the other end of the lanyard is wrapped against the tool in specialized tape. Other types include coils with D-rings, wristbands with D-rings, and Heat Shrink Links.
Python also makes bucket bags and pouches. The pouches, with an innovative self-closure system that traps objects inside, are unlike similar products on the market. The pouch makes it nearly impossible for objects to fall out once placed in the bag. Similarly, the bucket bags feature patent pending hook and loop or drawstring closure systems. All bags are puncture resistant.
Dropped objects result in serious injuries, lost productivity, tool loss, and property damage. Don’t be a statistic. Remember tool nets, hard hats, and toe boards are only backup systems for Tool Fall Protection. The next time you are evaluating a project, consider Tool Fall Protection as part of your plan.
Falls in confined spaces are often painful. Sometimes they require rescue from other team members. In these cases it’s important that the fallen worker isn’t simply hanging by their harness for the entire time it takes the rescue team to get them out of there.
A typical harness, even though they meet OSHA and ANSI standards for fall protection, will really squeeze the legs when a worker is suspended, and this can lead to a serious problem called suspension trauma (otherwise known as Orthostatic Intolerance or Orthostatic Shock). Suspension trauma straps were developed for just this problem. They are small, lightweight, and attach to either side of a worker’s harness.
Deployment of the trauma straps is easy. Well, it’s easy if you are just practicing on flat ground. I imagine it will be a bit tougher if you’ve just fallen 10 ft. with your shock-absorbing lanyard, banged into a metal railing or ladder, and are now swaying out in the open waiting for your guys to pull you up, or let you down. However, even in that situation, you simply unzip the trauma straps on either side of your harness and clip them together.
The trauma straps form a nylon strap loop down at foot level. The loop is attached directly to the harness. When the worker steps into the loop, the pressure changes from the harness leg straps which are by now pinching off your blood supply to your legs and starting to make them feel like a thousand needles are being poked into them, to the bottom of the feet. This is much more comfortable, and allows the blood to flow naturally.
Suspension trauma straps are easy to install onto any harness. They simply choke around the webbing at the hip. Quick and simple. Instructions are on the back of the package when you receive them.
If you have any questions about the Suspension Trauma Straps, just ask. If you have ever used trauma straps after a fall, please tell us about it.
Thanks for reading!
There are more women performing work that requires personal protective equipment (PPE) than ever before. A 1999 OSHA report stated that poorly fitting safety gear did not function properly nor provide the intended protection. While the situation has improved in the past 13 years, there still are relatively few full-body work harnesses that fit most women well.
There are some options that are better than others, and our female customers have let us know which harnesses in particular are the best fit for them.
Every body is different. That goes for men too. So these recommendations aren’t going to be perfect for everyone. However, there are a few design components that our women climbers and at height workers seem to prefer.
Playtex made a mint starting in the early 70s with their “Cross-Your-Heart Bras”, and there may be something to that design that translates into harness comfort for women. The ExoFit NEX Cross-Over Harness is one that is consistently mentioned as one that is comfortable for women.
The NEX line of harnesses from DBI-SALA come in sizes X-Small to XX-Large, are light-weight, and have premium padding and quick-dry materials. They are an excellent choice for women who need to wear a harness on a regular basis, and want to have quality equipment.
Another good choice for gals working at height are the Delta Cross-Over Style Harnesses. More economical compared with the NEX cross-over, the Delta harness is a utilitarian harness that still provides good adjustment and fit.
One more option that is popular among women climbers is the Petzl AVAO BOD Work Positioning Harness. The leg and shoulder straps distribute the weight evenly across the body while the straps in front gather together and are connected with a central carabiner which may provide greater comfort for some women users. This harness is designed for rope access work and works well in energy and network job situations.
If you have questions about specific harnesses or other climbing and at height gear on our site, please don’t hesitate to call us or chat with us online at www.PkSafety.com.
I haven’t seen it yet, so there’s no chance I’m going to spoil it for you. Apparently the Batman movie features some very questionable safety practices. In fact “practices” is probably the wrong word. If you tried this once, that would be all the practice you received. Then you’d be dead.
Christian Bale aka Bruce Wayne aka Batman does some serious climbing with only a rope tied to a belt. Hasn’t he heard of OSHA? Does he call that PPE? What’s wrong with a full-body harness Mr. Wayne? Don’t get me started on the rope. Rope? Are you kidding me? No energy absorbing characteristics?
Now granted, he is apparently in some difficulty when he attempts this foolish escapade. He’s trying to escape from somewhere (see how vague I am so I don’t ruin it for you?) But if someone can escape from Alcatraz or carve a gun from a bar of soap, isn’t there any way to fashion a nice 5-point fall safety harness like the ExoFit NEX Wind Energy Harness?
OK, that might be a tough one if you’ve only got dental floss and a paper bag. Can’t you get a call out? PK Safety can deliver a Delta Harness just about anywhere. Ships today! Trust me, Batman, it’s going to be a whole lot better than damaging your internal organs and snapping your back (again).
So if you find yourself in some demented madman’s torture chamber (let’s hope it never happens) at least wear proper safety equipment when attempting to escape. If you snap your back, your are never getting out of that place.
The old saying that you get what you pay for is especially true when we are talking about the most comfortable work harnesses. While there are hundreds of harnesses on the market that meet OSHA and ANSI standards, most of them fail to meet basic standards of comfort.
For instance, the most economical harness we carry at PkSafety.com is the Protecta AB17510. It’s a fine harness if an OSHA inspector shows up on the job site. It’s a basic, functional, 3-point harness that, if properly worn and rigged with other fall safety devices, will stop you before you impact in a too-quick manner with the ground.
But let’s be honest, the AB17510 is a harness for passing the occasional inspection more than for someone who works all day at-height. Working in fall protection gear all day means a fair amount of chaffing if you your harness isn’t designed for movement. Or it means wearing your harness loose, which you see quite a bit on sites around our home base. This is sort of like pulling your seatbelt over your arm when you drive so it looks like you are strapped in – it just won’t help you when it’s supposed to.
The next step up in climbing comfort is probably one of the Delta harnesses. One of the most important things to consider for comfort in a harness is how the dorsal D-ring is configured. If those back straps are held in place, like they are with the DBI-SALA 1102008 Delta II Full Body Harness the harness won’t twist so much. It’ll be easier to put on, and the straps will be inclined to stay where they are supposed to, instead of moving as you work.
The ExoFit line of harnesses is another big step up in at-height comfort. Harnesses like the Exofit 1107977 Back D-Ring Harness are designed and sewn to wrap comfortably around the worker. The edges of the straps have soft neoprene for added comfort and the leg straps are covered in mesh to help keep the wearer cooler and limit chaffing.
When you get to the high end of harnesses like the ExoFit line from DBI-SALA or the AVAO harness from Petzl, they are all going to be pretty comfortable, and it becomes more a matter of personal preference. In general, the Petzl harnesses are thought to be more for actual climbing and getting to (and back from) tough-to-reach spots. Their straps meet in a central point and hook with a carabiner in front. This means they really move with you as you climb, and the straps all tend to stay in place.
Of course the higher-end harnesses are also more comfortable when you actually take a fall. Hopefully you never do. But for what it’s worth, we think you’d be more comfortable in an ExoFit than a standard Protecta harness if you are hanging at the end of a lanyard.
Wristlets are deployed when there is no other way to get a rescuer or victim out of a confined space. Most often this is because the entry is too narrow or restricted to allow retrieval with a regular harness and a D-ring attachment.
Wristlets must be used carefully because they can put so much strain on a persons joints and muscles. This can be painful and may cause injury, but in an emergency they can be an excellent rescue tool.
Wrist straps are also used for horizontal extraction. In some cases rescuers may be required to crawl into a very narrow pipe that would make their getting out difficult. These wristlets from DBI-SALA have sliding straps that are big enough to go over feet and shoes as well as wrists. With a line attached to wristlets on the rescuers’ ankles, they can be dragged back out once their work is completed.
Working at height can be dangerous. Welding is also rife with hazardous possibilities. Do them both at the same time and you’re a special type of person. This photo was taken during a highway traffic stop in Costa Rica. While I don’t consider the typical Costa Rican construction project to be overly safe, I was amazed to see the level of safety exhibited in this photo.
First let’s look at the highway workers. They’re all wearing reflective safety vests. They are also wearing hard hats. I don’t know if the vests meet Class 2 reflective requirements or not. But I do know that lots of welding is done down here by throwing a wire over a municipal power line, so I’m inclined to applaud the effort.
The welders constructing the walking bridge are also wearing appropriate safety equipment (from a distance anyway). They’ve all got on fall protection attached to a horizontal lifeline solution. Is the lifeline engineered to hold the weight of four workers? I just don’t know. But it was a welded solution. There’s got to be at least a good possibility. Are the lanyards rated for arc-flash protection? I just couldn’t tell. The point here is that safety is important wherever you go.
What do you see in this picture? Are they covering their safety requirements as far as you’re concerned?
Better Call Saul is the new prequel spin-off from Breaking Bad is about a small-time lawyer hustling to make ends meet. In the first episode he has a big billboard put up to advertise his practice. The guy putting up the billboard falls, his DBI-SALA harness works, the lawyer rushes to the rescue, comedy ensues. The reason we’re mentioning this isn’t just because it’s a good tie-in with something in popular culture, and therefore will likely get way more visibility than one of our regular safety blogs – no way we’d do something like that – it’s because the show points out how vulnerable solo workers or guys working on small teams are if they should experience a fall.
We’ve written in the past about the importance of having a rescue plan in place and how dangerous suspension trauma can be for a fallen worker who isn’t quickly rescued. Lone workers do have a fairly recent option that they certainly could have used in the show, but that wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting or funny. The worker could have fallen, then pulled the tab on his Latchways R20 Personal Rescue Harness and lowered himself safely to the ground. Not funny. Not exciting.
Unlike traditional harnesses that simply absorb fall forces and leave you dangling like a forgotten avocado, the R20 allows workers to self-rescue thanks to the integrated evacuation pack which, when deployed will lower a worker at a slow, controlled speed up to 65 feet.
So many workers are climbing in remote locations where a call to 911 will be a very long time in being answered. The Latchways R20 self-rescue harness allows a fallen worker to simply pull a tab that acts like a ripcord on a parachute. Strong, thin rope attached to the anchorage point unwinds at around 2 ft. per second, bringing the worker back to solid ground without the need to put other workers at risk carrying out a rescue. It has the added benefit of delivering the worker to the ground and releasing pressure from the leg straps and avoiding suspension trauma.
Could billboard installation guys use this product? You bet. Factory and facility workers? Check. Anybody who is working at a height of 65 feet or less and may need to self-rescue? Yes. Definitely. Would it make good TV if someone fell while wearing one? Probably not.
Fall protection needs an anchorage that is capable of holding in the event of a fall. Makes sense. But how do you know if a certain point is beefy enough to hold a full-grown man and his tools doing a 6-12 ft. free fall? Unless you’ve had a certified anchorage installed, chances are you won’t know for certain. So try to err on the side of caution.
The old adage about anchorage points is that they need to support 5,000 lbs. We usually tell folks that if they can imagine dangling a Ford F150 from the anchorage spot, then it’ll probably pass the test. This is an example of OSHA and ANSI trying to get folks to think beyond the bare minimum for support, and it’s a good idea. If you’re using the 5,000 lb. rule as your base-line, chances are pretty good you’re looking for the types of anchorage points that will hold a falling worker no matter what the fall forces add up to be.
Now remember, we’re talking here about the anchorage. This is where you attach your fall protection equipment. This is a beam you’ll wrap your anchorage tie-off strap around, or a spot you can drill your permanent anchorage connector into.
A certified anchorage point has been designed and installed to an engineer’s specifications. Certified anchorage points have different requirements according to ANSI Z359.2 – 2007. Since a qualified person is involved, and the strength of the anchor point is known, the requirement is only two times the maximum arresting force for certified anchorages. This is going to be less than the 5,000 lb. requirement in pretty much all cases, but more than sufficient for the forces that will potentially be acted upon it.
A certified anchorage doesn’t have to be a fixed point either. The DBI-SALA Rooftop Anchor Point is designed as a movable anchor and is made to support a falling worker in certain situations. The caveat to this is if there will be multiple people attached to a certain anchor point obviously the load requirements will reflect the number of users. Clearly in this case, the forces will be greater than 5,000 lbs.
Hope this helps clarify the 5,000 lb. rule and explains what a certified anchorage is. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 800-829-9580 to discuss your specific application.
Your harness is a pillar of your fall protection equipment. Picking the right one depends on the type of work you do, how often you do it, and what your budget can afford. Here are our picks for the best harnesses for tower climbers looking at cost, comfort, adjustment, and weight.
The king of the tower climbing harnesses is still the DBI-SALA ExoFit NEX for Tower Climbing. This very comfortable tower harness has a spring-loaded dorsal D-ring and a range of other smart adjustment features that make getting a perfect fit simple and quick. At 9.7 lbs. the ExoFit NEX is the heaviest harness on the market, but it’s still a popular choice for many climbers. With a price tag over $600, it’s also the most expensive harness on our list.
Another popular model is the Petzl AVAO BOD Full-Body Harness. At 4.7 lbs. it’s one of the lightest harnesses you can buy, yet it still has a comfortable fit and quick-connect options. The X-design uses less material, resulting in the lighter weight. It is also has fewer chaffing points on the front of the harness. Special materials keep the heat away from the climber making it ideal for long periods spent aloft. Coming in with a current price of around $400 (depending on leg strap choice) the Petzl AVAO BOD is an excellent option for those looking to keep total weight aloft down.
The Skylotec Tower Pro Harness with Seat Sling features a wide mesh back vest which keeps the unit organized. A smart dorsal D-ring design keeps the loop pointed up for easy access. While this harness is also fairly heavy, at 9.9 lbs., it’s also well designed and comfortable for long days at height. The removable seat sling is reinforced with aluminum to keep it in place and it’s comfortable as could be. Wide, well-place straps provide a sense of stability, while still allowing a full range of movement for the worker. It’s a great harness if you’re looking for comfort in the $400 range and want the seat sling for extended work in place.
Finally the good ol’ Delta Tower Climbing Harness. While it’s admittedly low on innovative design and comfort, it’s still the work horse of the industry. The seat sling is not removable and it’s not a great all day harness, but it is safe and easily adjustable and that’s something. Currently priced just under $300, this Delta harness for tower climbers will fit into most budgets.
If you have questions about the best harness for your specific tower climbing application, please contact one of our Customer Service folks at 800-829-9580.
If you’re working in site maintenance, oil and gas production, or other large facilities, you likely have loads of fall protection equipment that requires periodic inspection by a competent person. OSHA sets requirements for regular inspection, and defines the type of person who can sign off on these reviews. A Competent Person in the eyes of all-mighty OSHA is simply someone who can identify the hazards of their workplace environment and who has the authorization to take immediate measures to improve them.
Simple. But do your people really have the ability to take quick action? If they find unusual wear, frayed or cut fibers, or distortion in the harness buckles, can they really make the call to pull them from service and require the company to buy replacements?
In addition to the more thorough investigation made by your Competent Person, all fall protection needs a visual inspection each time it’s used. The people wearing the harness or hooking into their lanyard or SRL have the most to lose should it fail. Training employees to give their gear a once-over before each is the recommended practice. This includes looking for frayed line or straps and excessive dirt or grime in the mechanisms.
A more thorough inspection must be made by your Competent Person and should be performed regularly. I realize this isn’t very specific. If your equipment meets the more stringent ANSI Z359 specifications, these schedules are more specific. SRLs must be closely reviewed ever 6 months to 5 years. The interval depends upon the type and amount of use the device receives. OSHA simply requires regular inspection. Many companies opt for yearly reviews.
Miller has a good page that demonstrates what to look for during a harness inspection that some of our readers might find helpful.
If equipment is involved in a fall, the prudent course of action is to take it out of service. But we all know there are falls, and then there are Falls. It’s important that a qualified person make the decision whether a piece of equipment can return to service. Again, your Competent Person doesn’t have to have specific OSHA-sanctioned training, rather they need to know the dangers of your facility and be able to make decisions regarding the safety of the equipment they inspect. Finally they must have the authority to have their recommendations implemented in a timely fashion.
If you have questions about your fall safety program and inspections, please give us a ring at 800-829-9580.
D-ring extensions allow easier access to the dorsal D-ring without having to go through the yoga contortions sometimes required to hook up your fall protection, but these extensions are not for every situation and must be used with care. Adding extra length to fall protection can result in additional swing forces acted upon the climber in the event of a fall. That makes intuitive sense. You’re making the pendulum longer, so the swing could be wider. Using an extender may be allowed with lanyards, but in our experience, self-retracting lifelines (SRLs) provide a safer combination with these devices. SRLs will take up the slack in the lifeline, so it shouldn’t change the actual fall distance unless you’re working right up against your anchor point.
Conditions in the field vary widely, so guidance is given relative to acceptable practices. If you want to dig through DBI’s technical info sheet on web and rope lanyard uses, click here. To break down the basics, the longest standard shock absorbing lanyards are 6 feet in length. While it may be possible to buy longer sizes, the user is responsible to make sure that they keep that fall distance at 6 feet or less. There is an exception made when the tie-off point is at your feet, such as on a scissor lift, and special lanyards with extra shock absorbing capacity are used in that case.
Ideally, as we noted, you will be using a SRL, as this will consistently take up any slack in your connection system, and limit your fall distance. We find that the sales on typical shock absorbing lanyards are declining, with a corresponding increase in SRL sales. If you look at fall distance calculations on shock absorbing lanyards vs. using an SRL, it is easy to see why.
Another important note about D-ring extenders – don’t add anything else to your harness D-ring if you are using an extension device. This means secondary fall protection, if you’re using it, needs to be attached to the front D-ring or shoulder rings, if you’re using a rescue harness.
If you have questions about your specific application and whether it’s safe to use a D-ring extender, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-829-9580.
Nearly every type of industrial site has confined spaces – manholes with plumbing, or sheds that house pumps or generators. These are areas where the atmosphere may become toxic or oxygen-depleted and unsafe for entry. If you or your crew don’t do much work in these areas you may not be aware of the dangers or the regulations surrounding them.
Here are a few things that you will need if you are preparing to enter a confined space. They are all important, most of them are required by law, and we’ll show you why.
The four-gas monitor measures levels of Oxygen (O2), Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Lower Explosive Levels (LELs) of things like Methane. The need for this should be pretty self-explanatory – and it is required by OSHA that you check the atmosphere before you enter a confined space.
Remember if you are entering a tank, all levels must be checked (top, middle, bottom) as different gases will gravitate to different areas of a space. Once you have entered the space, a diffusion monitor, or a pump monitor working in diffusion mode, will alert you to any changed in the atmosphere. If it goes into alert mode, it’s time to get out.
One of the first rules of confined space entry is “If you go in, know how you are going to get out”. If you are entering a manhole, tank, or silo – the kind of place without an overhead attachment point for a retrieval device, you are going to have to create one. In many circumstances this can be done by erecting a collapsable tripod over the entrance area. Horizontal entrance hatches, or tank entry may pose specific challenges for retrieval and more specialized equipment may be required.
Your average worker is going to be well over 160 lbs. Most likely over 180 or more with tools and clothing. That’s why a winch is required. The ability to pull an incapacitated worker out of a space without more people entering is critical in confined space rescue. Winches come with different lengths of steel cable and give you the mechanical advantage to pull up to 310 lbs. of inert weight. If you are working with a tripod, the winch often attaches to one of the legs, and the lifeline is run through a PkSafety a call. Our staff is not paid on commission, so our only goal is to help you get the safety equipment that best suits your situation. Thanks for reading.
Just after you have ordered your fall protection equipment (hopefully from Pksafety.com) is the perfect time to update your rescue plan. What? You don’t have a rescue plan? Well, you are not alone. Many conscientious companies provide equipment and training for the PPE issued on site, but fail to see the scenarios through. What happens to your workers after a fall occurs?
The danger of suspension trauma – where blood flow is cut off by harness straps when a fallen worker is suspended by a lifeline or shock-absorbing lanyard – is one reason to put a plan in place. (Prevent this by arming your team with trauma straps.) Another thing to consider is the fact that areas which require fall protection are often isolated ordifficult to reach in the first place. A fall that leaves a worker suspended, perhaps injured, will present many difficulties for on-site and off-site rescuers.
Although OSHA doesn’t set a specific time frame for rescue to take place, you should take a minute to think about how long you’d want to be hanging out to dry. In their article Scott Mirizzi and Nolan Miller point out the fact that the Air Force did tests on the effects of “motionless suspension” in 1987 and found some very fit test subjects who were extremely uncomfortable after only 3.5 minutes.
OSHA language recommends prompt rescue, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see would-be rescuers might put themselves at risk to assist an injured co-worker if a plan isn’t in place.
ANSI, typically one-upping OSHA, says in standard Z359.2 that rescue should be prompt, and at least verbal contact should be made within six minutes. If you are simply planning on calling 911, you might want to think that plan through a bit more. Often local departments have limitations on how high they can go. Site restrictions on getting equipment to a fallen worker may also provide a hindrance to rescue.
If self-rescue is impossible, on-site rescue is the next best thing. Workers should know where rescue equipment is located, and your rescue plan should outline how the rescue equipment is deployed. Even if 911 or other outside rescue teams are called, on-site personnel can provide valuable information to arriving teams by staying in contact with the victim, helping clear access areas and driveways, and informing rescue parties about on-site hazards or equipment that may help with rescue operations.
As with any emergency procedure, training is crucial. An emergency situation is not the time to learn how rescue equipment works.
Finally, it is important to review what happened after a fall has occurred. Even the best planning can run into snags, and it is important to evaluate the performance of the on-site team, the location of the rescue equipment in relation to the fall, and the training and comfort level of those who responded. Once changes are made to the rescue plan, all workers need to be notified and trained on any new aspects of the rescue procedures.
Companies spend money to keep workers safe and keep themselves OSHA compliant. However, just having the PPE isn’t enough. Your company can be held liable if OSHA finds your rescue operations have not been adequately prepared. Be a company that sees worker safety all the way through. Prepare a rescue plan for each piece of fall protection equipment on site, and don’t let that plan gather dust on an office shelf. Make sure the people who will be performing a rescue on a fallen co-worker are prepared for the job. Keep your site safe, keep your workers safe, and cover your company’s proverbial behind by implementing your rescue plan before it is too late.
This past spring OSHA updated their safety regulations for electrical power generation, transmission, and distribution. The compliance deadline for most of these new rules as they relate to fall protection is April 1st, 2015. If your workers operate or maintain electrical service and are working at height, they are likely affected by these updates.
There are two main fall protection rules that are either new or changed. Foremost is the arc flash requirement. Fall arrest equipment has an additional hurdle to pass to be suitable for use by linemen and others working with electrical power. Gear must now be able to pass a drop test after significant exposure to flames or electric arc flash hazards. The level of exposure for the new OSHA guidelines are the same as the ASTM F887 requirement of 40+/- 5 cal/cm squared.
What this means is that any workers exposed to flame or arc flash hazards must use arc flash-tested fall arrest equipment. To be compliant with OSHA requirements now all the fall arrest equipment including harnesses, lanyards, and SRLs must meet these new standards.
The second related rule alteration in OSHA 1910.269 and its Subpart V (1926.954) is that all qualified employee climbers must wear fall protection when operating over 6 ft. above ground whether they are changing position or climbing on poles, towers, or other similar structures. This has the familiar caveat that this will be true unless it is infeasible or creates an increased hazard with the equipment as opposed to without. The previous rule provided that qualified employees didn’t need the added protection.
Is there going to be grumbling among the older linemen? No question. We’ve seen it with every rule change ever offered by ASTM or OSHA. “This equipment makes it harder to do my job.” “I haven’t needed it in 40 years. Why should I start now?” We’ve heard it all. But the numbers don’t lie. It’s estimated that over 100 injuries will be prevented and 20 fatalities. Will this equipment slow you down? Probably. In the beginning, it’ll be an added layer of complexity. But like all the other advances before, it will eventually become part of the routine, then tolerated, and perhaps one day appreciated.
Photo credit: Rogelio V. Solis AP
Gravity is a harsh mistress. In a confined space, she truly plays for keeps. Petzl, a French company started by cave explorers and mountain climbers, understands the dangers of confined space jobs better than anyone else in the industry. Pksafety.com is excited to be the first company in the US to offer Petzl products solely with confined space worksites in mind. Our experts have put together kits that meet the unique safety demands of confined spaces and take the guesswork out of staring at a webpage overflowing with potential supplies. The kits make shopping fast and don’t skimp on what a person needs to stay safe in a confined space. This way, a customer can get everything that is necessary for a job while knowing that it is of the best possible quality.
It pays to have safety in a vertical world. Not satisfied with the conventional safety requirements of the industry, Petzl built its own lab and developed standards for itself that are miles beyond those of any other company. Most importantly, Petzl employees personally test their equipment in the field, so that customers know the equipment that they are buying can withstand real world conditions. They even made a short film that shows the full range of testing.
This personal touch has been a hallmark of the company since it began and it is the trait that I like the most. Fernand Petzl, the company’s founder, was not just some scientist working safely in a lab. He was a family man and began the company by building caving equipment for himself, his family, and his friends. He also field-tested his own gear, living to the ripe old age of ninety! The company has carried on this tradition of using a personal touch to guarantee that its customers have equipment that they would trust a family member using. The fact that he trusted his life and the lives of his family and friends to the gear that he was making, makes me feel confident about using it myself and recommending it to our customers. We’re all looking for the safest way to do our jobs. Petzl surpasses safety standards and makes me feel confident on every single job.
At PK Safety we’ve focused mainly on workers operating at height. We offer climbing safety products like harnesses and fall protection, and we’ve been doing that for years. But there are plenty of situations that only require a portable ladder to reach the job. We’ve found Telesteps telescoping ladders to be the best solution for traditional ladder work, and they come with some very definite advantages.
In the past to reach a light bulb in the middle of a warehouse or other open room, you needed a tall stepladder. Depending on your work site you might need several different sizes of ladder to reach all the spots. This one is too tall. This one is too short. This one is just right. Now how do I get it in there? Sometimes ladders have to be carried through sensitive areas, and the risk of accidents is high with such long, unwieldy devices.
Enter the Telesteps retracting ladders. Both straight ladders like the Telesteps 1600E or A-frame ladders like the incredible Double-Sided Folding Stick Ladder meet OSHA, ANSI, and CSA requirements for safety while completely eliminating the storage and relocation problems endemic to traditional ladders.
Multi-purpose extension ladders that are capable of becoming an A-frame ladder are also available from Telesteps. The 14 Ft. Combination Ladder 14ES telescopes down to a mere 2.8 ft. but can be extended for a worker to reach up to 14 ft. ceilings. This versatile ladder is capable of handling up to 375 lbs. of working weight yet weighs only 38 lbs. itself.
For an easy-storing option that really gives you a leg up on other similar products, Telesteps has a handy folding step stool capable of holding 300 lbs. This folding aluminum stool is made of the same T6000 aluminum as its big brothers, and is ideal for janitorial work, or as an office or household device.
Clearly steps have been taken by Telesteps to improve both ladder safety and performance. Our Telesteps ladders feature a one-touch, patented release system for easy deployment, 100 percent silicon feet that provide outstanding grip on the floor surface as well as being replaceable, and they are small and light enough to store anywhere. Operation is simple as they can be opened from the top rung to full height, or if you prefer, you can pull from the bottom rung in one foot increments. As always, a safety windows show “green” when in the locked position.
We find these ladders to be sturdy, reliable, and easy to deploy. If you have more questions for us, please give us a ring at 1-800-829-9580 and we’d be happy to help.
Fall protection equipment needs to be regularly inspected by a Competent Person according the specifications set forth in the ANSI Z359 protection codes if you want your Z359-rated equipment to be considered usable. Inspection is critical for all fall protection safety equipment, whether you intend to meet the highest standards in the country or not. To do this effectively, it’s important to have a consistent process for the inspection. For each piece of equipment you have in your inventory, make sure to check carefully.
First check for any impact indicators. This can apply to harnesses as well as SRLs or lanyards. Is it deployed? Does it show signs of damage? Is there a secondary reserve lifeline that may have been deployed?
Next take a look at the D-rings. Are they cracked? Look closely for hairline fissures. Sometimes scrapes and scratches can hide deeper issues. Have the D-rings been affected by welding? Is there corrosion or are the rings bent or distorted? All of these issues mean the harness needs to be taken out of service and either destroyed or repaired. Another issue with D-rings is sharp edges. Nicks in the metal can create a built-in knife that can cut apart vital straps and stitches. Make sure any issues are taken care of before the harness returns to service.
Check the buckles next. Even high-end wind energy harnesses like the Exofit Tower Climbing Harness have buckles whose gates may be sticky or not close properly. Typically this is a cleaning issue but it should be rectified before returning the harness to service. Other issues with buckles and closures include cracking, corrosion, missing parts, excess grease or dirt, or sharp edges.
Harnesses, SRLs, and lanyards all have factory labels that list the manufacturer, weight capacity and other vital information. These labels need to be inspected along with the rest of the equipment. Make sure the information is legible and the pages or sticker hasn’t been damaged beyond recognition. This always seems like a tickey tack requirement, but it’s listed along with the other major check points and needs to be taken care of before inspection can be completed.
Plastic keepers need to be inspected. Lanyard leg organization keepers should be in place, undamaged. The harnesses are designed to keep trip falls to a minimum and these keepers are part of the way that is accomplished.
If you’re dealing with SRLs or PFLs or personal fall limiters as some companies prefer to call them, you’ll need to pay close attention to the wire rope. In addition to kinking and broken wires, you need to be on the lookout for separation of strands, birdcaging, abrasion, and corrosion of the wire. Terminals can come lose and the thimble needs to be closely looked at to make sure it’s not coming off.
It’s not unusual to have workers experience a fall and be embarrassed or simply mark it down as no big deal. If the harness and fall protection did their jobs, the worker might not even realize how much force was acted upon the materials. That’s why it’s so important to inspect equipment regularly.
Webbing, rope, and shock absorbers are even more susceptible to accidental damage. Burns, fraying, even mold and UV damage can deteriorate the effectiveness of fall protection. All of these factors need to be taken into account and each hazard checked for and dealt with if found.
If you have questions about how to check your equipment to be in compliance with Z359 or you have equipment that needs to be replaced, give our customer service team a ring. I’m sure we can get you checked out in a hurry.
Can I Attach a Self-Retracting Lifeline to a Lanyard?
No! This question lands on our virtual doorstep more frequently than we’d like. It’s easy to understand why people ask: you have a Self-Retracting Lifeline (SRL) and it almost reaches the user or you just need a little more room to stretch to the side, so you want to use a connector – and what do you have plenty of? Lanyards!
It’s an easy solution to talk yourself into. But when you consider the components that make both devices work – lanyard length, speed-sensing brakes and snap-lock hooks – there are too many things that can go wrong. So, no, you cannot attach an SRL to a lanyard.
Why Can’t I Attach my SRL to a Lanyard?
There are several reasons why attaching a lanyard in between the snap-hook of an SRL and the user is a bad idea (and why it’s not approved by OSHA):
So, What Can You Do?
If you are going to do it, please consider the dangers first before implementing this technique on-site. You can avoid some of these pitfalls with a specialized extension device (with a D-ring on one end for connection to a snap-hook). But even if you plan for the extra length, there is no getting around the possibility of slack in the line and increased fall forces. If you ask us, and many of you have, adding a lanyard to your SRL is not a good idea!
In permit required confined spaces, workers are routinely entering areas which were not made with peoples’ comfort or safety in mind. They often have irregular entrances, tight spaces, and dangerous drops. Fall protection for confined space workers has been dramatically improving over the years, but even trained personnel don’t always know the correct configuration of equipment for each work site.
To discuss fall safety in a confined space, we first need to define some of the common terms. By defining the terms, we can better understand how the equipment and practices help keep workers from injury.
Fall Protection, for instance, describes the entire process of protecting workers from the risk of falling. Fall Protection science has come a long way from the early rope tied around the waist. It has evolved over time with testing and product development by scientists, regulators and equipment companies. To see a video of the forces generated by a fall, click here.
Fall restraint is one form of fall protection. Fall restraint is any physically limiting process that keeps a person from reaching the drop off. Using this definition, a guardrail that keeps someone from walking off a ledge is fall restraint. Anything that keeps a worker from reaching a falling point can be considered fall restraint. Typically workers in confined space applications where fall protection is required position themselves by attaching a lanyard to their harness so that any fall will be less than a two-foot drop, or they use the lanyard in such a way as to not allow them to reach the precipice at all. The important distinction here is the positioning lanyard is not used as shock absorption to cushion a fall, but to absolutely keep a worker from being able to reach the edge and fall in the first place or to have a fall of less than two feet so the total shock to the body is less severe.
Fall arrest is very different from fall restraint. It involves potentially longer drops, and incorporates technology to limit pressures created by the drop on the body. Fall restraint occurs when a worker has gone over the edge and the fall is stopped in mid-action by a shock absorbing lanyard or self-retracting lifeline (SRL) attached to the worker’s harness. The fall is arrested with the SRL by limiting the length of the fall and therefore the forces generated. With the shock absorbing lanyard, the forces are reduced by allowing the shock to be mitigated by the specially engineered webbing or internal ripstreach materials which slow the drop and thereby reduce the stress on the fallen worker.
OSHA provides guidelines for the strength and fall distance limits of SRLs and lanyards. By design these fall protection devices must limit the free-fall distance to two feet or less and must be able handle a load of 3,000 lbs when fully extended. Shock absorbing lanyards that will exceed the two-foot limit must be designed for ripstreach, tearing or deforming. These types of lanyards are specifically constructed to deform when under strain to slow the rate of fall, and must, at their fully extended length, be able to handle a full 5,000 lbs.
Harnesses are used in almost all types of confined space work because safety teams are required to have a method of removing an incapacitated worker in the event of an accident. Harnesses can also be utilized as a fall protection device. But there are wide variations in design depending upon the type of work as well as different levels of quality and comfort. OSHA is willing to call practically any configuration of straps secured around an employee that is meant to evenly distribute the forces generated from a fall over the various strong parts of the body a harness. That leaves wide latitude in terms of comfort. Anyone who is working in a confined space for more than a short period of time will realize that being able to comfortably enter and exit a confined space with the aid of a harness is very important. Certainly anyone working at height where they may be suspended by means of this “configuration of straps” will be able to perform their work better, over a longer period of time, with the correct harness for the particular application. Harnesses must have an attachment point for the fall arrest system located between the shoulder blades on the back of the harness (example). Many harnesses also have additional rings for positioning lanyards to be attached.
A rope-grab is a deceleration device that slows or arrests the rate of fall. A rope grab “follows” a worker as he or she walks and works along the length of the line. In the event of an accident, the rope grab engages and arrests the worker’s fall. Rope grabs do not engage unless pressure is applied, such as in the event of a fall, whereupon the brake will engage limiting the fall.
While all of these items provide fall protection in certain situations, it is the site safety plan combined with the willingness of the workers to follow safety protocols that add up to a safe work environment.
Just as there are plenty of cars that will get you from A to B, just like safety equipment that will keep you safe and cover your OSHA requirements. But not everyone wants to drive a Smart Car. In fact, if you drive all the time or you have lots of equipment to haul around (to take this metaphor a bit further) that little sucker may not be the right choice at all. Let’s take a look at some of our most popular ppe and the upgraded items that may just be a better bargain at the end of the day.
First off – gloves. We sell tons of MCR 1200S Economy Work Gloves. They’re good. They’re fine. They are the gloves that your dad used to use when he was making a fence in the backyard, and they still work great if you’re carrying lumber or loading up a truck or running a wheelbarrow around the site. But if you’re a carpenter or someone who operates power tools or other machinery, these just aren’t the gloves for you.
The ATG G-Tek MaxiFlex Gloves 34-874 are our most popular these days. Yes, they’re twice as expensive as the economy gloves. But they may last twice as long without tearing at the at the thumb crotch, and there are other benefits. The MaxiFlex is a string knit glove that is dipped to provide a thin nitrile coating over the fingers and palm. It has a snug fit that doesn’t have extra material to get snagged or grabbed while you’re pushing lumber through a table saw. The improved grip from the nitrile coating is perfect for picking up nails or screws and holding them while using your hammer, and it still helps keep splinters out. If you’re working in the cold, Towa makes a similar nitrile-dipped glove that is insulated (and orange) called the PowerGrab Hi-Vis 41-14400.
What about fall protection? Certainly a properly fitting Protecta AB17510 harness is going to keep you from hitting the ground at an unhealthy rate of speed (as long as you’re properly tied off). But you’re going to be fairly uncomfortable for the duration of the time you’re working and not falling. I did say properly fitting too. These harnesses are pretty comfortable if you give yourself plenty of room. If you wear it like a loose jacket, it doesn’t bind or chafe at all. Unfortunately when you fall, you will experience the jerk from the lanyard stopping the harness followed by your impact with the floor or lower level because you slip right out of your straps. The Protecta harnesses aren’t really designed for guys working at height all day, every day.
Guys who work at tower climbers or doing construction with their feet off the ground either don’t wear their equipment properly, have permanent rashes around their legs and over their shoulders, or they’ve upgraded to an ExoFit or Petzl full body harness. Both of these manufacturers have spent their Research and Design dollars figuring out how to let a working man (or woman) stretch and work while staying protected. More expensive. Yes. Quite a bit in some cases. But professionals have professional tools, and comfortable fall protection is part of the uniform for many folks.
If you’re looking for the cheapest personal protective gear for your company, just make sure it doesn’t cost you more in the long run. If you’ve got questions about the best quality for the best price, we have the answers. Just ask. You’ll find us on the phones and answering questions online Monday through Friday from 7am till 5pm PST.
Recently a construction company contacted us to ask about using a Miller Beam Anchor. They knew the anchor had the ability to provide anchorage for fall protection when used in a horizontal application. The 8816-14 from Miller is a typical beam anchor designed to provide an overhead attachment point on an I-beam or an H-beam. What they wanted to know was could they use the same product in on a vertical beam?
I’ll keep the suspense to a minimum. Yes. Turns out Miller is perfectly happy to have folks use the ShadowLite Anchor on a vertical H-beam or I-beam. But they remind users that foot-level attachment requires a lanyard that is specifically approved for the greater fall force and strain experienced when the attachment point is at or near the platform workers are standing on.
Folks also call this type of application leading edge work since it often takes place at the top of a construction project. Something like the DBI-SALA Force2 Lanyard with Shock Pack is approved for this type of work. For even more protection, retractable lifelines like the Nano-Lok Edge with its steel cable meet leading edge work requirements where the structure may also feature sharp edges.
Both of these lanyard options are designed to meet not only the OSHA fall safety standards with regard to limiting fall forces acted upon the worker, but also the more stringent ANSI Z359 standards. And I think we can all agree, a soft landing is always preferable in these cases.
If you have specific questions about your work site and the best anchorage options, give us a ring at 1-800-829-9580 or find us online at www.pksafety.com.
ANSI Z359.1 was published in 1992 and approved a scant 15 years later. Slowly grind the wheels of progress. And ANSI Z359 is progress in terms of worker safety, even if it is going to cost more money in the short run. Greater regulation of worker safety almost inevitably means increased administrative work and expense for employers, compliance provides improved safety for workers and increased protection against litigation. Certainly these are both worthy goals, whether you’re working in the public or the private sectors.
So how do you get compliant and stay that way? Meeting ANSI Z359.1 standards means not only buying the right equipment (it will be stamped with “Z359”), but also making sure the equipment is regularly inspected.
The Z359.1 standard deals with the production of the devices, load capacities, and a million other details. What you need to know is how to stay current. The equipment you need to keep track of are yourharnesses, lanyards (including self-retracting lanyards), lifelines, anchorage connectors, and other fall safety equipment.
For SRLs the inspection regulations depend on how often the devices are used. For regular, everyday use with fairly good storage conditions, the SRLs need to be inspected by your competent person (and not just the fourth best guy you have on-site that afternoon, but someone who meets OSHA requirements for a Competent Person) once or twice a year. The units need to be sent in for factory authorized inspections at least every 1-2 years, but not to exceed manufacturer-suggested elements. This addendum about not exceeding manufacturer recommendations will go for all the level of usage.
Sites that are using their SRLs constantly or very often, and in extremely rugged environments, such as commercial construction, oil & gas production, mining, or areas like that are required to have their competent person inspect the units quarterly or twice yearly, and send them in for factory inspection at least yearly.
Infrequently used equipment still needs to be inspected annually in-house, and every 2-5 years (again no longer than recommended by the manufacturer) by a factory-trained tech.
There will be expense. Not only will the equipment be slightly more expensive, but you’ll need to have replacements handy while the primary SRLs and other equipment are being serviced. The hope is in the long run increased worker safety will decrease not only the on-the-job injuries, but time off for injuries, and the eventually the overall cost of doing business. For now, buckle up and try to organize your reminders.
Personal protective equipment like hard hats and harnesses aren’t made to last forever. So much of this equipment has elastomeric or plastic parts that are particularly susceptible to deterioration over time. Abrasion can weaken stitching, nylon straps can be snagged and torn – even metal pieces corrode. Typically it’s recommended by manufacturers that reusable PPE be replaced every 2-5 years even if it hasn’t been damaged. But there are ways to extend the life of your PPE.
Safety equipment like fall protection or a hard hat must be replaced if it’s involved saving an employee from a serious fall or taking the brunt of an impact. If your equipment has saved you once, don’t think of it as your lucky hard hat. It has fulfilled its purpose and needs to be retired. If you want to put it someplace, put it on a shelf. Or take a picture and post it to our PK Safety Facebook page. Just don’t put it back on your head.
Harnesses like the Petzl AVAO BOD and DBI-SALA ExoFit have a 5-year life expectancy. But proper storage, use, and cleaning is needed to make sure they last that long. Harnesses and lanyards require visual inspection prior to every use. We’re not saying you’re not competent, but you may not meet the standards of an OSHA Competent Person and that’s who also needs to be inspecting your PPE on a regular basis.
When not in use, your safety products need to be kept at room temperature and away from chemicals, UV light, and moisture. These elements, along with abrasion, snags, and ground-in grime and dirt from work accelerate the aging process for safety equipment. By following these basic rules of ownership, maintenance and inspection can help you extend the life of your fall safety beyond the 2-5 year span. Ultimately it’s the responsibility of the person using the gear to keep their eyes open and not take their equipment for granted.
One final note on removing PPE from service. Equipment that is past its useful life needs to be disposed of in such a way that it is not found later by unwary workers and used. We all know of equipment sheds with piles of old harnesses in the corner that are 10 years old, and just haven’t been thrown out. When a lanyard or harness is finished, get rid of it entirely so nobody uses it accidentally. And on that same note, don’t use fall protection that you haven’t personally inspected. Because it is your butt that will be on the line. Literally.
While OSHA still establishes the laws surrounding workplace fall protection and is tasked with enforcing them, many organizations look to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for the most current safety procedures and best practices. The new(ish) Z359.1 standards from ANSI are an attempt to create a more holistic fall safety program. One of the biggest differences between these new specifications and the existing OSHA fall safety requirements are regular inspections of all fall safety equipment.
ANSI Z359 attempts to minimize on the job injuries caused by inadequate fall protection, improperly used equipment, inadequate training, and damaged or worn-out safety gear. One of them major themes in this comprehensive directive involves regular inspection of all fall protection equipment with special emphasis put on SRLs, harnesses, and lanyards. These directives fall under Z359.1 and also include energy absorbers, anchorage connectors, fall arresters, and components of the equipment including connectors, rope, straps, thread and thimbles.
These standards only applies to fall arrest equipment used in general industry and not to the construction industry. The construction industry currently has a separate set of standards.
New inspection requirements for self-retracting lifeline devices depend on the amount of use the unit sees. SRLs that are used infrequently, say for occasional confined space entry, or as rescue equipment, and that have good storage conditions that keep it somewhat clean, dry, and away from corrosive or harmful chemicals, only need to be inspected annually by a competent person on staff. A factory-authorized inspection would need to be performed every 2-5 years (but never longer than required by the manufacturer).
For fall limiters and SRLs that see moderate to heavy use, as in residential construction, in warehouses, or in the utility trades, inspection needs to take place more frequently. House inspection needs to take place semi-annually to annually, and sent out for factory inspections at least every 1-2 years (but again, never longer than required by the manufacturer).
Finally SRLs that are in continuous use, or that are used in severe or corrosive environments such as oil and gas industries, mining, or commercial construction, need to be inspected every 3 to 6 months by a competent person (as defined by OSHA). These workhorses need to be sent in for a factory inspection at least annually (and, for the last time, as always, never longer than required by the manufacturer).
Obviously good record keeping will be critical with the new ANSI standards. And at least in theory, that paperwork will be pulled out for inspection far less often, since the belief is these new safety efforts will greatly reduce the number of injuries. While the Z359 standards certainly put a much greater level of responsibility and organization on the employer, it is believed this added attention to detail with regard to fall safety will improve the overall wellness of workers, and decrease workers compensation claims and injury over time.
If you have questions about ANSI Z359, or compliance with the new regulations, please give us a call at 1-800-829-9580.
While roof work in many parts of the country is slowing down or confined to winter repair projects, in California there are still roofing projects in full swing. Because I work for a safety company I can’t help but look to see what safety equipment (if any) they’re using when the work is happening in my neighborhood. So far, even since the OSHA rule changes earlier this year, only about half of the crews I see working are wearing the mandated fall protection.
This is probably due to infrequent OSHA inspection, but they are out there, and smart companies are making sure their employees have at least basic coverage. The simplest way to be compliant with the roofing fall safety regulations is a kit like the Roofer’s Fall Protection Kit from Protecta. The kit has a full-body harness, a roof anchor, a vertical lifeline, and a rope grab/lanyard combo. It comes in a container that can be used to transport it from job to job, and it meets all the OSHA standards for residential roofing fall protection.
That being said, it’s not the kind of equipment you want to be wearing every day if you are working at height on a daily basis. Why do I say that? Well, first of all, the harness is basic. It tangles easily, and it isn’t easy to get into or out of. And in the case of a fall, well, it will protect you and disperse the fall forces, but it will not be comfortable either to wear while working, or to dangle in after a fall.
The next step up for roofers is something like the Deluxe Roofers’ Fall Protection Kit from DBI-SALA. The harness is a Delta No-Tangle Harness. It has wider straps and heavier construction. It’s designed to keep from tangling when it’s thrown in a bag or behind the seat of your truck. Generally speaking, everything in the Deluxe kit is heavier-duty and it comes with a nylon carrying bag to help keep everything in one place.
The upgrade that professional roofers seem to make first is the upgrade to a great harness. A great harness, in my humble opinion, is one that allows a wide range of movement, doesn’t chafe, and doesn’t get too hot. While harness design and technology has taken a definite leap in the past ten years, there are some definite standouts for the roofer who is ready to spend on comfort and flexibility. The ExoFit Safety Harness from DBI-SALA and the AVAO from Petzl are two that come immediately to mind.
Another area where roofers can improve their equipment is with rope grabs. DBI-SALA makes an Automatic Following Rope Grab that simply follows the worker along the vertical lifeline as they move. Both the kits mentioned above come with manual rope grabs that require the worker to grip the device and move it up or down the lifeline when they need to change positions. You can see how this might be a big advantage when carrying tools or materials to a different area of the rooftop. Miller also makes a Hands-Free Trailing Rope Grab that keeps fall protection level with the worker.
Finally, smart two-person horizontal fall protection systems are available that not only take care of OSHA fall safety requirements, but also provide a high degree of mobility for a pair of workers. Systems like the Roofer’s Two-Person Horizontal Lifeline Kit or the DBI-SALA Sayfline 2-Person Horizontal Roof Lifeline System allow two workers to attach their vertical lifelines to rings attached to a heavy-duty, but reusable, horizontal line. They can then move horizontally along the line while maintaining their vertical fall protection.
Everybody knows fall protection slows roofers down. But it can’t be argued that at least part of that slowing occurs to workers who are falling off the roof. And if even OSHA, who we all know moves at a glacial pace, has determined this will cut down on injury and keep workers safer, it’s here to stay. Workers and employers need to design fall protection systems for their workers on rooftops that allow them to work quickly, efficiently, and safely.
If you have questions about how to achieve this worthy goal, please don’t hesitate to call us. We’ve got solutions for every budget and can help figure out fall clearance questions if you’ve got your site and structure dimensions.
There is an old joke among climbers that industry standards for harnesses require them to be as uncomfortable as possible. That certainly may have been the case a few years back. Fall safety standards had companies scrambling to produce harnesses that would shield workers from fall forces, but rarely did they take movement and comfort into account. Today the same companies that have been combining technology with absolutely outstanding ergonomic research to yield harness designs that are lightweight, padded, and comfortable enough to wear all day long.
There are a number of harnesses that made it to the top of our list. The Petzl AVAO fared very well in our estimates. In fact, we noticed that among the people who liked their Petzl harnesses, they were nearly fanatical. “Wouldn’t leave the ground without it” said one climber of his Petzl gear. And we get it. The Petzl BOD has a great cut, it’s gathered in the middle in a Y-formation so it allows excellent mobility, it has handy quick-connect buckles, and it’s very lightweight.
However, if you’re an 8-10 hour a day (plus) worker on the tall steel, the ExoFit XP for tower climbing is simply the Cadillac of climbing, the Original Cat of the tower. (That’s a Sammy Davis Junior reference there folks.) The ExoFit XP is made by Capital Safety with virtually no expense spared. Unfortunately that means you’ll need to be willing to spare no expense to purchase one. But the folks who really care about their tools and their trade consider this one of the best investments they can make.
Where the old harnesses has absolutely no padding, the XP is padded everywhere you need it – shoulders, hips, legs, and back. Much of the padding is removable so once it begins to smell or gets filthy dirty, it can be taken off and laundered. But it’s also going to get to that stage slower than other similarly padded harnesses because even the padding is well-thought-out. Mesh between the pads and the wearer helps to whisk away sweat and helps keep things from overheating.
The ExoFit XP Tower Climbing Harness is the easiest style of harness to don. It’s a vest-style harness. Actually, it’s more like Ironman’s suit with all the attachments and bits of alloy steel. But it does slip on like a vest, over the shoulders, clips in the middle, and onto the legs. Each of the clips is a fast-connect buckle so getting into and out of the harness doesn’t take all morning.
The removable seat sling is also padded and has a base made of lightweight but plenty-durable aluminum. It attaches to the hip pad/body belt and has positioning rings so you can get right in there where you need to be.
All these extra attachments – positioning rings, front D-ring, body belt, seat sling – do add to the total weight. The ExoFit XP for tower climbing comes in at a not-inconsequential 10.7 lbs. However, when you consider you feel like you’re sitting in a Lazy-Boy recliner while working at 250 ft., and return to the ground less exhausted than when you were working in a lesser harness, we feel the extra ounces are worth carrying.
Don’t agree? Have a harness you like better? Let us know.