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Fall protection , fall arrest , safety harness

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by funwithfuel, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

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    I used to think like you that a lanyard was useless at a lower level. OSHA says we must be tied off if our feet are more than 6 feet off the ground.(might be 5 ft now) About 10 years ago on a job I was managing a subcontractor iron worker was tying rebar on a vertical wall. His feet were about 6 ft off the ground and as he was repositioning his position lanyard his hand slipped. He fell backwards and his hardhat was the first thing gone. The shock absorbing lanyard caught his fall and he landed on his feet and rear end. Sore but no serious injuries. He was the first to admit that without the lanyard he would have landed on his head.
     
  2. funwithfuel

    funwithfuel Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone. You have no idea how something so simple "sounding" could be so easily overlooked. When i worked the quarry and mines, I'd see the guys running round in their harness, every piece draped loose. After watching a couple videos on proper donning, I wonder if they care about themselves at all. I was never properly trained. I am taking the initiative to steal knowledge from all of you. I don't wanna be a statistic. A little late in the game for me. I'm almost 50, but i wanna make 60, at least lol. Thanks again all, please keep sharing. I hope some young'uns might stumble on this and decide their life is worth a little bit more also.
     
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  3. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    I remember they said to get the person down as fast as you can safely and don't take the harness off until paramedics or emergency crews arrive with the adrenaline needle to give you. That said the older guy doing the rescue demonstration on a scaffolding was trying to show off by manually hoisting himself up way too fast. I didn't say it to him but said it to the person beside me that you can't help anyone if you have a heart attack in the process.
     
  4. Jumbo

    Jumbo Senior Member

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    I cannot agree with crane operator more, the buckles are best, you always know where you buckle in. When ordering for people working for me, I would order them new, and assign them to a person. I kept some adjustable slip buckles around for visitors, but for the crew, I wanted comfortable, easy to put on harnesses. Along with the rebar hooks on a double lanyard, you cannot go wrong. I think the lifespan for a harness and/or lanyard is only five years with no damage, so never buy a used one. Technically, both Miller and DBI Sala will tell you there is no effective lifespan. However, they will also tell you that ANY wear is cause for removal from the work site. L&I looks for abrasions both minor and major, so in effect, three to five years in normal conditions is the useful life. Most contractors I worked around and for before I retired got new harnesses for everyone at the beginning of a job, they are considered consumables. Always store them like you do your clothing, never in a gangbox, never on the floor. Dirty harnesses are a big flag to L&I to inspect for abrasions and if stored on the floor, they will find abrasions.

    Last bit of advice, if you can get the sales crew to give the onsite class how to wear a harness class get them to. It is a real eyeopener to see a sandbag dummy who missed snugging it's harness up by one buckle ring drop, split and leak all it's sand out in just a few minutes. Make you real careful about putting your harness on every morning.

    A side note, Since I wore overalls, (not coveralls) I always bought my bibs a coupled sizes large to wear over the harness that leaves all the pockets available for tools and such. I have had several people tell me that is illegal, but ask an L&I person and they see nothing wrong with it. The manufacturers also see nothing wrong with it. Since I retired, I did take my last harness and lanyard home with me and I still use it around the house.

    Re: fall protection vs. fall restraint, around the edge of a building, I like the anchor cable run on 6' intervals, I personally do not like the yo-yos as they get trashed quickly and need to be replaced more often. As long as you are using a double lanyard, you can clip from anchor to anchor. I find it give people a bit more confidence at the edge of a building if they feel a hard stop as the get close. But, that is just my opinion.
     
  5. walkerv

    walkerv Senior Member

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    i started out working for and industrial electrical contractor that did most of our work in the local dow and dow corning facilities , we had to maintain 100% tie off so we had the shock absorbing double laynards so when we moved down the pipe racks in the cable trays we would always be tied off then they started saying that cable trays were no good to tie off to as they arent engineered to handle the shock of a fall but they didnt offer any solutions to this so we would position ourselfs near the main posts of the pipe rack in the plant and tie off to them when we were pulling cables , if i remember rite the shock of a fall on the tie off point is something like 5000 lbs its been a long while since i have had training but if they are comforatble they arent bad to wear all day
     
  6. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

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    Correct. Tie off point must hold 5,000 lbs. A person can generate a lot of energy falling a short distance.

    Quote from Jumbo, Always store them like you do your clothing, never in a gangbox, never on the floor. Dirty harnesses are a big flag to L&I to inspect for abrasions and if stored on the floor, they will find abrasions.
    Good point. OSHA will site a person and remove from service any safety harness they see laying in the dirt. Sand is the enemy to nylon and also chokers and nylon slings for that matter.
     
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  7. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    I just thought of something. If you are required to wear a harness I'm not sure if you also have to have someone certified in a rescue? Seems to me you do. They don't have to be right there but within a reasonable distance so they can be there in a hurry. I know where I worked at the time a couple people were trained in rescue.
     
  8. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

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    I'm not sure Dave. I've been retired 3 years now. It was not mandatory when I retired to be trained in rescue. We did as corporate policy, often with the fire departments and rescue squads that were local to the project. A little easier to do that on a two year project versus a few day gig. It was a requirement to have a "certified in first aid" person on the jobsite.
     
  9. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    I worked at West Edmonton Mall and had to go up the roller coaster and other amusement park rides at times. Even in a man lift you had to wear a harness. It seems pointless to have people wear a harness but have no around to rescue them ASAP if required.
     
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  10. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

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    Most falls are not from someone simply stepping off an edge. Often something caused the person to go. There are so many different situations and hazards that could be present in a fall that we were trained to call 911 first thing. To have a well trained rescue person on every job would require a person to be training almost full time and have a truckload of equipment to be able to handle most situations. Probably makes a big difference as to where the job site is to.
     
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  11. Jumbo

    Jumbo Senior Member

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    In Washington, last class I took 6 years ago never mentioned "rescue." EXCEPT in confined space and you had to have rescue plans and hardware on site. I worked in several wet wells in my career, both sewage and leachate from garbage dumps (the absolute worst) where I was in a full protective suit with pressurized air to breath, My harness was hooked to a boom truck since I was at the bottom of a 60-90 foot well. Climbing down to do electrical work was a nightmare, but I was always glad I had the hardware. L&I had to approve the boom truck as it was not "listed" as an approved recovery device. Access was through a 48" manhole, the biggest at the time.
     
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  12. Twisted

    Twisted Senior Member

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    A little off topic but confined space deaths are almost always multiples. It is human nature to help your buddy and that's why the bodies pile up. Confined space entry requirements are a bugger and rightfully so. Any rescue can be tricky.
    My hazwoper and other training courses always preached the issues involved in a safe rescue. Toss on a suit, SCBA, harness and other gear then smear some goop on your lens so you can't see much. Now try to get a 200# injured or unconscious person to a safe place. I'd guess that about 1/3 of our rescuers needed to be rescued themselves, 1/3 made it in and out but no recovery and 1/3 were successful. It's an eye-opener to say the least.

    I guess my point is to avoid safety hazards at all costs. Using/wearing safety equipment is very important, actually putting it to use is where it gets dicey.
     
  13. Jumbo

    Jumbo Senior Member

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    Well said!
     
  14. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    You still call 911 but it's about getting the person down as quickly as possible. That's why I remember they said not to just take the harness off and wait for the paramedics that have the adrenaline needle.
     
  15. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    Very good write up Crane Operator, not much to add and agree a yo-yo is a must.

    We don't have to use harnesses much but I have two large retractable Miller Titan wire yo-yo's we use and they work great. Hook the reel to an attachment point and it gives you 20' of mobility.
     
  16. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

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    Yes, If you can do it safely. It would be hard to stand by and wait in a difficult situation.
     
  17. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    It's something that you never really think about. You see people wear fall protection all the time but until you take a course you don't realize that even if a harness saves you from falling, you're still in a potential life threatening situation.
     
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  18. 9599svt

    9599svt Member

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    A lot of places now have a 4 foot tie off rule. A normal lanyard will stretch several feet to deaccelerate you, and because of its normal 6 foot unstretched length can let you hit the ground before it does anything useful if you don't anchor it well above your head at shorter heights. A retractable (yo-yo) is safer to use than a lanyard, especially at shorter heights, because they need very little distance before they lock and stop you. Not only does this stop you before hitting the ground at shorter heights but also causes a lot less stress on your body because the free fall distance is so much shorter. With any fall protection always try to tie off as close to directly above you as possible to prevent swinging if you fall. Obviously anything is better than nothing because like the guy above, the main thing is to keep your head off the ground. If you do buy a retractable make sure to buy a quality one such as rebel. Some of your imported or cheaper ones seem to lock up every time you make a move, which is very frustrating, dangerous, and a waste of time. Also some harness manufacturers such as miller have leg suspension loops built into a pouch right on the harness so if you fall and are still conscious, you can grab them out and put your feet in them so you can stand up and take the weight off of your thighs so the blood can circulate. Finally from one welder to another, get yourself a welding coat that has the slot on the back so you can have your harness under your weld coat so you don't burn it up. I don't know the technical name for it, but another useful item, I call it a tail which is about a one foot non stretch strap with a small hook on one end and a d ring on the other that you attach to the d ring on the back of your harness so you can more easily attach yourself to a retractable.
     
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  19. Jumbo

    Jumbo Senior Member

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    9599; you are I think, comparing apples and oranges, two separate purposes here:

    Fall restraint; these are the rules and regulations that keep you from falling in the first place. Yo-yos are one of the primary means of this. Short tie offs like cable and solid lanyards are also part of it.

    Fall arrest; when you fall, the shock absorbing lanyard keeps you from being decapitated. And gives you a “controlled” stop, (yeah right...)

    In a boom lift style manlift, you want fall arrest, so if you get tossed out of the basket, you have the “controlled stop.” If you are on a 12’ stepladder on a catwalk 60’ in the air, you want fall arrest in case you go off the ladder.

    If you are working the edge of a building, you want fall restraint, which would be a system with no room to allow you to get to the edge and tumble off. Yo-yos are designed to “lock-up” and when you quit pulling on them to do just that. Too often though, someone pulls a “little extra” slack so they can move easier and not have to fight the yo-yo. That is where you can get into real trouble, because now, you can reach past the safe working edge and fall.

    I still have my two 3” three ring binders from L&I which spells out just about everything. Always remember, the rules are written by insurance companies to cover themselves. Self-insurance have increased the complexity compared to when L&I ran everything. Too many accountants, lawyers and CYA people in the head office.
     
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  20. 9599svt

    9599svt Member

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    To the best of my knowledge a yo yo can not be used for fall restraint unless it is the type were you can lock it to only allow a set amount of cable out that would prevent you from reaching the fall hazard. Body belts ( back breakers ) are still legal to use for fall restraint when used as a limiter to prevent you from reaching the fall hazard like the edge of a building. OSHA has went back and forth over the years on the best type of fall protection to use in a boom lift and now state that it must just prevent you from free falling more than 6 feet. So I think this is the reason why 6 foot rectractables are generally used on boom lifts. I agree there are a lot of different types of rectractables, some want you to use a shock absorbing lanyard with the retractable and some don't. A lot of this is because a lot of rectractables (yo yo's) are designed to only be used overhead. I will also do some more looking also, in my 16 years in the trade I have probable had fall protection training 30 times and although it is a very important training, sometimes the small details change or don't sink in and you stick to the way you have been doing it for years.