(Q) What is the difference between fall protection, fall arrest, and fall restraint?
(A) Fall Protection is a general term that covers all methods of protecting workers from falls from height. Both fall arrest and fall restraint are therefore fall protection. Fall Arrest specifically describes systems that arrest a falling body after a fall from height. Fall restraint describes systems designed with specific length lanyards that keep a worker’s center of gravity from reaching a fall hazard.
(Q) Self Rescue - What do OSHA and ANSI say about self-rescue?
(A) OSHA requires that employers provide workers with self rescue capability or prompt rescue after a fall from height. Self rescue simply means that the worker uses a device or a procedure to return the worker back to the safety of the working surface or some other safe lower surface. There are many pieces of equipment available today that enable a worker to rescue themselves, e.g. rigid track systems used with self-retracting lanyards can limit total fall distances to the point where the worker simply “steps up” to safety after falling only a few inches.
(Q) At what height is fall protection required?
(A) Per OSHA 1910, fall protection is required starting at 4 feet for General Industry, and per OSHA 1926, fall protection is required at 6 feet for Construction.
(Q) I am new to fall protection. Which national safety standard is the best guide for using fall protection properly?
(A) The relatively new ANSI standard Z359.2 (released October 2007) defines all the employer responsibilities for providing fall protection to workers in General Industry. OSHA can reference all ANSI Z359 standards as requirements under OSHA’s “General Duty Clause”. Note that this standard Z359.2 works equally well for the Construction industry.
(Q) Please explain OSHA’s requirement for 5000 lb anchorage strength.
(A) OSHA requires non-certified anchorages to be capable of supporting 5000 lbs per person attached, or to be designed as part of a complete fall protection system designed by a “Qualified Person”. A Qualified Person is generally a person with an engineering degree who is also knowledgeable in the requirements of fall protection systems.
(Q) What type of energy absorber should be used on Rigid Lifelines® fall arrest systems?
(A) Only Self Retracting Lanyards (SRLs) that limit fall forces to 900 lbs MAF (Maximum Arresting Force) are allowed to be used on these Rigid Lifelines® systems. SRLs are required to limit total fall distance, enable self rescue, and limit the potential for injury during a fall. The following lanyards are NOT acceptable for use on Rigid Lifelines™ systems: “rip stitch” lanyards, energy absorbing lanyards, “shock packs” attached to fixed length lanyards, or personal energy absorbers attached to fixed length lanyards.
(Q) Why does Rigid Lifelines® only allow the use of Self Retracting Lanyards (SRLs) on their Anchor Track™ fall protection systems?
(A) Self Retracting Lanyards (SRLs) work in combination with our rigid system design to create a fall protection system that does the best job of limiting fall distance during a free fall event. Self Retracting Lanyards operate by employing a braking system to lessen fall forces. Because of the self retracting nature of the Self Retracting Lanyard, they limit the fall distance to several inches. Fixed length energy absorbing lanyards however are not acceptable for use on Rigid Lifelines® Anchor Track™ fall protection systems. The non-retractable nature of the fixed length lanyards adds significantly to the total fall distance and increases the potential for injury. Only Self Retracting Lanyards are approved for use on Rigid Lifelines® Anchor Track™ fall protection systems.
(Q) How often should fall protection equipment be inspected?
(A) Fall protection equipment should be inspected by the user before each use, and should also be inspected at least once a year by a Competent Person who is designated by the employer to oversee the fall protection program. Note the Competent Person can inspect the equipment more frequently if the use is severe.
(Q) Is the ANSI required "once a year" full inspection of equipment by a competent person OK under all circumstances?
(A) Fall arrest equipment must be inspected by the user before each use. The competent person must peform a full inspection of the equipment at least once a year or sooner if the competent person feels the equipment is being used in an aggressive environment and requires more frequent inspection.
(Q) Do Rigid Lifelines® self-retracting lanyards (SRLs) require annual recertification?
(A) Rigid Lifelines® SRLs do not require an annual recertification. Our SRLs only require recertification if the following apply...
- the SRL does not pass a Competent Inspection (required at least annually by ANSI and OSHA)
- the SRL has been subjected to a fall arrest, or
- the SRL is not functioning properly
NOTE: Rigid Lifelines® SRLs can be rebuilt (recertified) over and over again due to the interchangeable compontents within.
(Q) How do I return my Rigid Lifelines® self-retracting lanyard (SRL) for repair?
(A) Please contact a Rigid Lifelines® inside sales specialists for instructions on returning your SRL for repair. Inside sales specialists are available by phone at 844-GO-RIGID or by email at email@example.com.
(Q) Are systems available in Stainless Steel?
(A) Yes, we are fully stocked with stainless steel track and components, so we can quickly supply most systems in stainless steel as required. Please call our Technical Sales Specialists for details.
(Q) Can Rigid Lifelines® provide systems that can be used for both Material Handling and Fall Protection?
(A) Absolutely. These hybrid systems are typically provided with a lock out function so that the material handling portion of the system cannot be used while the system is being used for fall protection. Please contact our Technical Sales Specialists for more details.
(Q) Can a fall arrest track be mounted to an overhead crane?
(A) Each individual circumstance is different, but generally, if there is sufficient over-capacity in the crane and the geometry of the crane will allow for it, then yes, a fall arrest track can be added to the crane. The crane typically must be locked out and tagged out while the structure is in use as fall protection.
(Q) Can you provide systems that are spark resistant or explosion proof?
(A) Yes. Simply provide the Class, Division, and Group information, and we can comply as required.
(Q) Can you provide professional, engineering stamped drawings?
(A) Yes, Rigid Lifelines® provides a full range of professional engineering services. Please call our technical sales specialist for details.
(Q) Will your system support 5,000 lbs/person as required by OSHA, or does it comply with the OSHA 2 to 1 safety factor?
(A) Our systems are designed by qualified engineers and meet the 2 to 1 safety factor defined by OSHA standards. Every system made by Rigid Lifelines® meets or exceeds all associated OSHA and ANSI fall protection standards.
(Q) Rigid Lifelines® products are compliant with which government standards?
(A) OSHA 1910; OSHA 1926, and ANSI Z359.
(Q) How do I load test my system?
(A) You don’t need to load test our system, just as you would never load test a rip-stitch lanyard. Each system is engineered to meet or exceed all current OSHA and ANSI requirements. If the system is properly installed and inspected by a Competent Person, no load test is required. If you wish to conduct a load test anyway, instructions can be provided upon request.
(Q) I see your systems are rated for 900 lbs, can I put a 900 lb person on it?
(A) Absolutely not. Our systems are rated for 900 lbs maximum arresting force (MAF). The weight limit for workers carrying tools on our systems is 310 lbs.
(Q) Can we attach a Rigid Lifelines® system to purlins (the sheet-metal, Z-strips that are used to support sheet metal roofing)?
(A) We do not typically allow our fall protection systems to be directly attached to purlins unless a structural engineer has reviewed the application for proper strength or sufficient load distribution. If the purlins have been certified by a structural engineer to withstand the load, then yes, our system can be attached to purlins.
(Q) Does your company have any certifications?
(A) Yes, our entire company is certified to ISO 9001:2008. Both of our manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania and Nevada are certified to the American Welding Society’s (AWS) quality management system.
(Q) Do you sell any fall protection systems that do not require building permits?
(A) Yes, our portable systems come in counterweighted and non-counterweighted designs, so building permits and seismic (earthquake) analysis, for states like California, Oregon and Nevada, are not required.