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Osha Fall Protection

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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OSHA fall protection regulations have been passed under two different categories. One category covers fall protection equipment for use in maritime industries, and one covers more general industrial use. There are a few notable similarities, especially in regards to the correct development and use of personal fall arrest systems.

For whatever industry you are involved in, the OSHA fall protection regulations covering connectors and anchorages (as parts of a personal fall protection system) have similar criteria for minimum tensile load, finish, and minimum breaking points. For example, all vertical lifelines, whether for maritime or general use, must have a minimum tensile strength of 5000 pounds. Also, all connectors used must made of pressed, formed, or drop forged material, either of steel or some other similar material, and must be finished with a corrosion-resistant coating.

Construction equipment in general, and especially shipyard equipment, is constantly exposed to brutal elements, so finishes and coatings can become very important. On a similar note, OSHA fall protection regulations also state that those who use fall protection equipment be thoroughly trained not only in the use and limits of the equipment, but in the proper inspection and storage of the equipment as well. Improper storage can sometimes result in equipment failure, and end in injury.

OSHA Fall Protection Guidelines and Jerk-Back

OSHA limits jerk-back, also called fall arrest force, to 1800 pounds of force (with the use of a body harness). By using a few other quality products in a fall protection system, though, that number can be reduced even further, and can even be cut in half. Shock-absorbing lanyards and other deceleration devices can be used to reduce forces to as little as 900 pounds of force, while keeping the free fall distance well within the six foot maximum.


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