Top Ten Fall Protection Equipment Misuses

June 29, 2016

While at the ASSE Safety 2016 in Atlanta this week, Craig Galecka of LJB Incorporated and Shawn Smith with the U.S. Navy, presented a Dave Letterman-style Top Ten List of the most common fall protection equipment misuses.

In the order of presentation, they are:

Number 1. Rebar snap hooks

Snap hooks aren’t intended for loading. Galecka and Smith recommend using anchorage connections.

Number 2. Inappropriate Anchorage Strength

Most lanyards are not tiebacks, and using them as such can result in equipment damage. Using a beam strap or beam clamp that is designed as an anchorage connector can alleviate this problem.

Number 3. Insufficient Anchorage Strength

Most workers assume being tied off to something is better than nothing. It’s important to train supervisors and users to recognize adequate anchorage capacities.

Number 4. Below Doral D-Ring Anchorage

Improper D-Ring anchorage can increase the likelihood of freefall. If you don’t need to stand while working at height, don’t.

Number 5. Twin-leg and Self-Retracting Device Confusion

Because they look similar, the two tools are often confused for one another.  Make sure you know the specification for twin-leg energy, and don’t attach anchorages to both legs at the same time.

Number 6. Usage of Damaged and Recalled Equipment

Employees may not be trained on pre-use equipment instructions. Make sure you conduct a pre-use inspection every time, as well as register the products.

Number 7. Improper Equipment Fit

Loose equipment means more fall distance, and a vest that is too tight can become a choking hazard.

Number 8. Self-retracting Device Leading Edge

Ensure equipment is rated for additional freefall, or is edge rated.

Number 9. Warning Line Systems

Warning line systems don’t provide protection and don’t meet fall safety requirements. You can, however, double the anchor plates and ensure the lines are kept at least six feet from the roof edge.

And the Number 10 most common fall protection equipment misuse is -

 Horizontal Lifelines

End anchorage can easily exceed 5,000 lbs., leading to improper intermediate anchorage.  Always make sure horizontal anchorage is designed by a qualified person.

Remember, PPE should be the last line of defense, not the first.