Multiple Post Suspension System Protects Drivers on Flatbed Trucks

Overview

A large flat rolled steel mill based in Ohio converts scrap steel into rolled coils that are shipped to customers across the country. The coil shipping process involves first loading coils onto flatbed trucks along a 700 foot long road outside the facility. During production, as many as 30 flatbeds may move through this area per day. Once the trucks are parked, mill workers load steel coils on one side of the road, and the trucks then move to the other side of the road where the drivers tarp the load. When drivers climb on top of the flatbed truck, they are about 4-5 feet above the ground. When steel is in high demand, the mill maintains a shipping schedule 365 days a year. This means drivers are required to tarp coils in all weather conditions, including rain, snow, and ice. Each flatbed takes approximately twenty minutes to tarp. For fifteen years this is the process that was followed with workers and drivers not using any type of fall protection. This was dangerous and was in violation of OSHA law.


Solution

Eventually the drivers complained about the danger they were in while tarping trucks. While the steel mill had never experienced a fall incident at the loading and tarping road, management decided to be proactive and give the drivers protection. The steel mill’s safety management team did research on fall protection solutions and discovered Rigid Lifelines. Seven months after getting in touch with a Rigid Lifelines distributor, an impressive Rigid Lifelines fall arrest system was installed to protect workers and drivers.

On March 1, 2012, the truck drivers started using the mill’s new Rigid Lifelines Multiple Post Suspension Fall Arrest system. To date, this is the longest fall protection system ever engineered, manufactured, and installed by Rigid Lifelines. The system spans 768 feet with support posts and foundations located every 100 feet. To keep the loading process moving smoothly, the system was engineered by Rigid Lifelines fall protection engineers to accommodate one worker in eight individual stations every 45 feet.


Impact

The steel mill will be requiring that all workers and truck drivers working on the road watch an instructional video on proper fall protection procedures and pass a test before they are allowed to load trucks. With the new system, workers and drivers can now safely load coils and tie down tarps, knowing that they have the added security of a Rigid Lifelines fall protection system.