Fall hazards are recognized as one of the OSHA Big Four which account for the majority of fatalities in the construction industry. Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) are a common type of protection used by workers when serious fall hazards exist in their working environment.
OSHA Standard 1926.503(a)(1) The employer shall provide a training program for each employee who might be exposed to fall hazards. The program shall enable each employee to recognize the hazards of falling and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed in order to minimize these hazards.
Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) typically consist of an Anchor Point, a Body Harness, and a Connector such as a lanyard.
Fall Arrest Systems MUST be inspected before each use. Inspections should include looking for any signs of damage, excessive wear, rust or chemical damage. Any fall arrest system equipment found to be defective, worn-out or frayed must be removed from service immediately.
OSHA Standard 1926.502(d)(21) Personal fall arrest systems shall be inspected prior to each use for wear, damage and other deterioration, and defective components shall be removed from service.
Rusted components, webbing that has been burned or soaked in chemicals or paint must not be used. During the PFAS inspection, workers should look for any signs of damage on connectors, clips, carabineers, or the webbing of the lanyards or ropes used.
Inspections should be documented using an inspection tag or other documentation.
Workers must be trained in fall protection and the specific types of Personal Fall Arrest Systems they will be using on the job. Training topics include:
- How to put on harnesses
- Limitations of fall protection equipment
- How to properly inspect the PFAS equipment
- What is a safe anchor or "tie-off"
Weeklysafety.com encourages and promotes all companies to schedule weekly safety meetings on a variety of topics throughout the year. Safety topics can range from walking/working surfaces hazards, to electrical cord safety, to seasonal flu prevention.