The Guardian Fall Team Blog

General Industry work demands both diligence and flexibility. Few industries present the fall protection professional with such a wide variety of challenges. Mitigating fall hazards throughout the General Industry takes out-of-the-box thinking and consideration of specialized solutions employed in unique ways, and in some instances, outside consultation by engineering specialists.

Proper planning is an essential part of creating any fall protection system. With the myriad available products available to the residential roofer or homeowner, it might seem overwhelming to select the one “right” solution for the job, in some cases, it can be quite complicated. But, like any complicated project, instead of looking at the entire system and trying to solve it all at once, sometimes breaking up the project into its component parts can lessen the stress, make decisions clearer, and help provide a more effective and robust solution. In this article, we’ll give you some guidelines to help determine when multiple anchors may be needed for your application.

Drive by any residential roofing job and in addition to workers crawling across the roof (hopefully tied-off), the sound of pneumatic nailers, and someone’s dreams coming true, you’ll see ladders – lots of ladders. For most residential jobs, ladders are the primary means of roof access for not only personnel, but tools and materials as well. Who hasn’t seen a worker with a bundle of 3-tabs on his shoulder climbing up to supply his co-workers? Unfortunately, however, ladder accidents continue to plague workers (and homeowners) at height, and according to the National Safety Council, accounted for nearly 20,000 injuries and 133 deaths in 2016. The good news is that these injuries and deaths are preventable.

It’s a new year and a new company (for those who missed it, Guardian is now officially part of Pure Safety!). But while the calendar may have reset, fall protection products continue to be misused on a regular basis. So, just like the Earth’s path around the sun, our orbit has once again taken us back to another edition of What’s Wrong With This Picture.

In its never-ending march to identify, quantify, and clarify, ANSI has recently released its Z359.18 standard. Just as we have seen in earlier updates, ANSI is once again breaking its original Z359.1-2007 standard into its component parts in order to dedicate an individual standard to specific area of fall protection equipment manufacturing and testing. In this latest installment, ANSI focuses its attention on anchorage connectors.

We can’t know how a fall protection product will perform, of course, until we do extensive testing in our lab. Testing is the place where the rubber meets the road, and where the eyes of anxious product engineers are glued to find out whether their designs will work, whether they must, literally, go back to the drawing board and tweak things, or in some cases, start all over. The goal of extensive testing is to ensure that when a product is called to duty, is answers the call with flying colors.

All of the products whose manufacture is governed by ANSI standards must go through rigorous compliance testing to ensure their integrity and performance. Although the specific test and performance parameters vary for each standard, tests can be generally divided into two types: static and dynamic. Why two types of tests? In a nutshell, because the tests tell us quite different things, for an explanation of how, read on.

Since we are in a testing frame of mind, it’s worth taking a deeper look into third-party testing - what it is, what it isn’t, and what it means to all of us in the industry, whether you are a manufacturer or user of fall protection equipment.

Sometimes you know a good idea when you see one. Whether the Model T, the space shuttle, or the iPhone, there are some inventions that make the world expand to such a degree that you can’t ever imagine going back. Human ingenuity is at the core of what makes us so successful as a species. But there’s a dark side as well.

In an earlier blog post, we jumped into the difference between a 6’ and 12’ free fall, and how that determines what type lanyard (standard or extended free fall) is most appropriate for a given situation. In that case, it was kind of an apples to apples comparison; the lanyards were a fixed length, and we learned that anchor position was the sole determining factor as to whether or not the free fall was 6’ or 12’. But what happens when we introduce a variable-length SRL into the mix? How is free fall calculated differently between a lanyard and an SRL? And what difference (if any) does anchor position have on SRL free fall?

Read any instruction manual for a fall protection lanyard or SRL, and you’ll no doubt read about fall clearance. That, of course, is the minimum distance required between the worker and next lower level (be it part of the building or the ground) to ensure that, in the event of a fall, there is sufficient room to allow the fall protection gear to do its thing and prevent the worker from impacting something very hard. In tandem with calculating fall clearance is being aware of, and avoiding, swing falls – especially when using an SRL.

Unless you actually see some of the treatment SRLs get, you may not believe it. To see for myself, I took a little trip down to our SRL repair lab to see what the latest horrors were, and boy did I see a lot. In the interest of using real-life examples to elucidate why (and how) you should love your SRL, I think it’s important to share some rather troubling examples of SRL abuse – it’s not for the faint of heart.

Summer has come and gone, the leaves are just starting to turn, and the moon even blocked out the sun for some of us lucky few. And as the seasons turn that means it’s time again to take a closer look at how fall protection equipment gets used in the real world.

If you haven’t gotten the memo yet, it’s summer! And, if you are a homeowner, I’d be willing to bet there will be some nagging reason you need to traipse up to the roof. Maybe it’s a broken shingle, or cleaning the gutters, or maybe you are the ambitious homeowner planning on making an addition for a soon-to-be arriving family member. No matter the reason, don’t hit the roof without considering your fall protection solution. Luckily for you, we’ve put together a kit called the Bucket of Safe-Tie that includes everything you need to ensure what goes up, comes down safely.

Ask a group of fall protection experts to give an example of “Confined Space,” and you might be surprised at the answer. One might mention a boiler vat, another, HVAC ducting. A third person might mention a tractor trailer tank meant for hauling milk, yet another might talk about a mining excavation. Who’s right? Of course, they all are. But just because they all fall under the Confined Space umbrella, that doesn’t mean that the equipment, nor the procedures for rescue for each situation is the same. Each individual case deserves its own solution, and as you’re about to find out, sometimes you have to get creative.

This year's National Safety Stand-Down was a resounding success for Guardian and our partners all across the United States. We were honored to be a part of so many events, and truly humbled by the level of enthusiasm and dedication shown by all of those in attendance. We've put together a little video montage of many of the events we hope you will enjoy. If you see yourself in one of the pictures, let us know! Thanks again, and we look forward to seeing you for the next Safety Stand-Down in 2018. Until then, Be Safe Up There!

Let’s all take a moment for a little thought experiment. For the next ten seconds, close your eyes and think as hard as you can about the following word: anchor. No tricks and no wrong answers, just one little word. Think of as many ideas or associations as you can. Are you ready? We’ll be here when you get back.


One of the most frequent operations found in Confined Space work is the lowering or raising of a worker through a manhole or other vertically-accessible opening. A common setup might have a Guardian Arc-O-Pod outfitted with our 3-Way Rescue/Retrieval SRL positioned over an opening. Attached to the SRL’s lifeline is a worker, ready to be manually lowered to specific levels to perform an inspection of the interior space. Sound good? Nope! This situation illustrates a common misuse of our 3-Way SRL and a misunderstanding of its intended purpose. For this type of operation, our Rescue Winch is the preferred tool for the job. Here’s why…

Well, you’ve made it!  The 2017 National Safety Stand-Down is almost in the books!  We appreciate your participation, and for following along with us as we take the message of fall protection awareness to the masses! Hopefully this week you have realized the importance of staying vigilant while working at height, and this has inspired you to take your own education to the next level.

No matter what type of gear you end up using, there is a key factor in ensuring its working condition, and that is proper maintenance. Frankly, you’d be shocked to see some of the pictures of used products we have seen. Perhaps the most shocking part is the fact that workers are still relying on these abused products to keep them safe at height! Lunacy! Here, see what I mean?

Once you have identified the hazards on a jobsite, your next job is to choose the safest means of protecting workers from the hazard. I know, that’s a pretty obvious statement, but there’s a bit of nuance involved that is worth thinking about.

I can’t think of a better way to kick off Stand-Down week than with a quote from Louis Pasteur you may or may not have heard: “Chance (or fortune) favors the prepared mind.” In his work as a scientist, Pasteur knew that in order to recognize a breakthrough, he had to be prepared to recognize it. He knew he couldn’t just plod along glibly and expect something important to simply jump out at him; he had to sharpen his skills of observation, deduction, reasoning, and imagination so that when something changed he knew it, and could react to it.

Like those in any field with its own esoteric language, we in fall protection often take for granted that when we use a term, everyone else knows what we are talking about. For example, if I said, “For that Fall Arrest application, you’ll need an SRL-LE – and make sure the shock-absorber is attached to your dorsal D-ring,” you’d probably understand what I meant. Other terms can get squishier. What is the exact definition of a “prompt” rescue? What is a “regular interval” of inspection? What makes using a fall protection system “infeasible?” What constitutes “supervision” of work? As nice as it would be for the terms we use in fall protection to be unequivocal and non-obfuscatory, but crystalline and perfectly pellucid instead, unfortunately, it’s just not the case.

When we think of the relationship between a worker and an anchor in terms of ratios, we usually think 1:1; that is, one worker tied to a single, independent anchor. This is evidenced by the fact that the vast majority of our fall protection anchors are designed just for that: a single worker. But there are plenty of times when workers must perform their jobs in twos or threes, and the ability for two (or more) workers to tie-off to a single anchor point might be a benefit, both logistically and economically.

Throughout the ages there have been eternal questions that have eluded answering, rather, the search for an answer itself becomes the answer. What is the sound of one hand clapping? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop? How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? The world has waited and waited for answers to these questions, but alas, like the number of grains of sand on a beach, they too, as yet, are unknown.

Sometimes it’s easy to get tied up in the technology of fall protection. I mean, who isn’t impressed with the current offerings of SRLs, lanyards, or harnesses for Fall Restraint or Fall Arrest solutions? There is no doubt that the combination of a full-body harness, anchor point, and connector is one of the most effective means of keeping you safe on the job. But as effective as those high-tech pieces of gear are at keeping you safe, sometimes your best bet is actually a low-tech solution – specifically a guardrail.

There’s a common saying that goes something like this: “the road to trouble is paved with good intentions.” And nothing could be truer when it comes to our example for this quarter’s What’s Wrong With This Picture.

Guardian Fall Protection is pleased to now offer Online Fall Protection Awareness Training through our new HART Height and Rescue Training brand.

For the (especially first-time) SRL buyer, it might seem a little daunting to pick the “right” SRL for your specific needs. Like many things, there isn’t always a single solution that covers every possible situation. But that doesn’t mean that just any SRL is the right SRL. In the next few posts, we will explore SRLs in depth to help you better determine which features are suited for your specific needs so that you can choose your equipment with confidence. We will also delve into best practices, and go over some of the common questions we get here at Guardian that help direct our product development, technical advice, and usage instructions.

As promised, this week we return to the OSHA 1910 General Industry update. Last week we covered some of the major issues, and if you missed it, go back and have a read – there are some things you need to know. And now, without further delay, let’s continue to wade through the 1910 tome.

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, OSHA has updated its 1910 General Industry regulations regarding walking-working surfaces and personal protective equipment, which will go into effect January 17, 2017. Since its release, we’ve been sifting through, picking out what we feel are the most impactful updates and what they mean to you. There are quite a few changes in the 513 (yes, I said 513!) page update that strike a chord,** most of which were much-needed, and will hopefully make choosing the right fall protection easier and ultimately, make working at height safer.

 Introducing the Guardian Fall Protection Hawk Harness!

If there is an unsung hero of a fall protection harness, it has to be the lanyard keeper. The what? The lanyard keeper - that little loop of plastic (or snap strap), where the second leg of a dual-leg lanyard resides (or should reside) when it’s not in use. But even though it may be the unsung hero, it might also be the most overlooked and underused feature of a harness. As both a manufacturer of a full-range of fall protection harnesses and as a group of people dedicated to your safety while working at height, we want to change that.  The lanyard keeper exists for a very specific reason, and hopefully by the end of this article you will understand why it exists, and why it can be such a vital part of keeping you safe in the event of a fall.

When we think of working at height, we often imagine someone tethered to a lanyard or SRL walking across a roof, along the edge of an unfinished concrete floor, or maybe traversing a beam while a mobile anchor slides along quietly behind them. But there are many workers whose jobs have them literally locked in suspension to the structure they are working on, and who may remain in that position (depending on the nature of work) for hours on end. Of course, I’m talking about Work Positioning.

With the recent launch of our Seraph full-body and construction sternal D-ring harnesses, let’s answer the question that more than a few of you must be asking: What can I use a sternal D-ring for?

As a full-line fall protection manufacturer, we put a lot of energy into making the most effective products for the worker-at-height. We want to make sure that you have the safest experience possible while performing your work. But although we try to control as many aspects of working at height as possible, one thing that is out of our control is the weather. Depending on where you work, you may experience heat, cold, wind, rain; or in our part of the country all of them at the same time (or so it seems sometimes). As unpredictable as the weather can be, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do to prepare for working in bad weather.

It’s time again to ask that eternal question: what’s wrong with this picture?!

We have an interesting one for you today, so we won’t worry about a lot of build-up. But one extra thing to keep in mind; in addition to asking if anything is wrong with our image, ask yourself one more thing: is what we’re seeing compliant with ANSI regulations? Is it even possible to say ‘yes’ to the former while also saying ‘yes’ to the latter?

 Introducing the Guardian Fall Protection Seraph Sternal D-Ring Harness!

One of the most important rules any worker at height must follow is that equipment MUST be inspected prior to each use. Inspecting the integrity and function of your fall protection equipment before you put it into use gives you the opportunity to remove from service any gear that does not pass the manufacturer’s requirements and to avoid any equipment failure in the event of a fall.

Now Available!! The Guardian Fall Protection Premium Halo Harness.

HART Height and Rescue Training by PSG is pleased to now offer Online Competent Person Training!

Now Available! The Guardian Fall Protection Straight Loop Insert.

Ever wonder, “What’s the difference between a standard shock absorbing lanyard and the Big Boss Extended Free Fall lanyard?” Good question. By just looking at the pictures, or holding the lanyards in your hands, a first reaction might be, “Not much.” There’s some truth to that statement; both lanyards are 6’ long, and both have external shock absorbers that look remarkably similar. So, what is the difference between these two lanyards, and what are the circumstances that make one lanyard a better choice than the other? 

If you missed our previous post, (or need a refresher), we are taking a look at a commonly-heard story of an OSHA inspector coming to a job site, seeing a problem, and shutting the job site down. Last week we explained how the original complaint (a supposedly non-compliant lanyard) by the OSHA inspector was not valid, and this week, we will jump into the second part of the story; whether or not an OSHA inspector can immediately shut down a job site. Here we go…

This week's update is the first of a two-part article that was prompted by a question from a customer. What at first seemed like a straight-forward question with a simple answer turned into anything but. As a matter of fact, finding the complete answer lead me all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court! It’s a long one, so grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy The Case of the Lawless Lanyard.

It’s quite likely that at some point in your career of working at height you have been asked to attend some type of formal training. Continual education ensures that workers stay up to date with current OSHA regulations, fall protection technologies, and in general contributes to an overall safer workplace. Whether the need for training stems from your own interest or your employer has made it a requirement, knowing which type of training would best benefit you is a critical first step. For example,HART Training by PSG currently offers 16 individual classes – which one(s) should you choose?


Authorized Person - 4 hours

Consider this a basic introduction for anyone who might be exposed to a fall hazard at work. You’ll get a solid foundation of fall protection topics including selection and inspection of gear, fitting a harness, and connector compatibility. If you are new to working at height, this class is a must.


Fall Protection Awareness – 1.5 hours

Pull up a chair and gather ‘round. For this class, HART comes to your jobsite for a short demonstration of Fall Protection topics. Your team will learn the ABCs of Fall Protection, selection and inspection of gear, watch a live fall demo, and more! Not quite as in-depth as our in-class offerings, but an excellent way to spread Fall Protection knowledge when you can’t spare having your crew absent from the jobsite for an extended period of time.


Competent Person – 16 hours

Every jobsite needs an OSHA-compliant Competent Person. A step up from an Authorized Person, the Competent Person identifies AND eliminates potential fall hazards to promote the highest level of safety on the jobsite. Becoming a Competent Person is the next level of education, and prepares you for the added responsibilities of not only working safely, but actively inspecting a jobsite (and workers) and mitigating unsafe practices. This class is designed for all industries, residential or commercial and includes a variety of hands-on activities and in-person testing. After this class you’ll start seeing OSHA/safety violations everywhere (trust me, I do all the time). It’s a real eye-opener!


Competent Person w/ EM-385 - 24 hours

If you currently work on, or want to work on government or military construction projects, you MUST be EM-385 certified. There are different regulations for working in or around government facilities, and without this specialized training, you are simply not qualified to be present on these jobsites. Our EM-385 class is based on our Competent Person class but adds an additional day to cover all you’ll need to know to work on government projects.


Competent Person Refresher – 8 hours

All certified Competent Person’s need to be re-certified every two years. After all, regulations and technology change constantly. This class reviews Competent Person material, and refreshes the student on jobsite best practices.  One of the great benefits of this class is the real-life material brought in by the students after having spent two years as an active Competent Person. The stories sometimes boggle the mind! Stay up-to-date, stay fresh, stay safe! Prior Competent Person certification is required for enrollment in this class.

Competent Person Trainer – 40 Hours

The Competent Person Trainer (also known as Train the Trainer) is an intensive, 40-hour class that prepares students to conduct their own Competent Person classes. This is an excellent class for experienced workers in firms who need to regularly educate their workforce. The Competent Person Trainer will gain the expertise to teach fall safety regulations, lead demonstrations, teach inspections, and discuss the job specific duties of Authorized, Competent, and Qualified Persons. Basically, you become the point-person for your organization for all things Fall Protection. Not for the newcomer, this class is for advanced students who have an already-extensive knowledge of fall protection topics.  

Equipment Inspector – 6 hours

This is an equipment-focused class designed to delve deep into all facets of fall protection equipment.  This class is great for workers tasked with inspecting large amounts of a wide variety of gear. Add this to our Competent Person class and you are well-prepared to tackle any jobsite.


Authorized Rescue – 8 hours

Every jobsite needs a rescue plan, and this class prepares you to put that rescue plan into action. After you’ve taken our prerequisite Competent Person class, take your rescue knowledge to the next level with our Authorized Rescue class. This advanced class gets you on our training tower performing intensive rescue training for approximately four hours in addition to class time.


Confined Space Awareness– 8 Hours

This class gives the student a familiarity with OSHA regulations regarding confined spaces, and how to identify and classify hazards associated with them. This is a procedures-based class versus active confined space entry.


Confined Space Non-Entry Rescue– 16 Hours

Not for the claustrophobic. This class includes all of the information from our Confined Space Awareness class and adds information and procedures on confined space entry and atmospheric monitoring. Includes tripod, harness, and anchor usage, as well as topics on ventilation and permitting. Designed for those who work or supervise confined space operations.


Confined Space Entry Rescue – 24 Hours

The ultimate Confined Space class.  This class includes all of the information in our Confined Space Awareness and Entry classes but adds techniques of both vertical and horizontal rescue. The class also covers improvised harnesses and anchors, and topics on ventilation and atmospheric monitoring systems. If you work in or supervise confined spaces, this class is indispensable to keeping you and your workers safe on the job.


There you have it! A brief overview of the classes offered by PSG's HART Training division. If you have any questions, or better yet, want to sign up for a class (or two), give us a call at 1-800-466-6385 or send us an email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We would be happy to help.


My name is Arissa Mendiola, Training Coordinator of HART Height and Rescue Training by PSG. I have been with PSG since February of 2013. Before Pure Safety Group, I was working at a Copy and Print Center where I connected with the Director of Training. At the time, I was responsible for printing all of Guardian’s training material (workbooks, tests, wallet cards, etc.). With some familiarity with the training material, I applied for the Training Assistant position and the rest is history.

At Guardian Fall Protection we’re always on the lookout for product misuse. We have eyes and ears everywhere. Nobody is safe (unless, of course, they’re using equipment correctly). We’re like the CIA of fall protection.

This week we expand on the concept of permanent versus temporary fall protection installations. In the same way you can’t judge a book by its cover, you cannot judge a fall protection solution by its perceived suitability for short- or long-term use. As always, true understanding comes by a thorough examination of all aspects of the situation, and having the expertise on which to base your decisions. Once again, Charlie Garcia from our ESG group puts a fine point on the topic.

In August of 2012, ANSI, in their Z359.14-2012 Safety Requirements for Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems (since revised to Z359.14-2014), divided SRLs into two classes. These classes are defined based on an SRL’s maximum potential arrest distance and maximum potential average arrest force. SRLs with a maximum arrest distance of 24 inches are labelled Class A, and those with a maximum arrest distance of 54 inches are labelled Class B. Average arrest forces are capped at 1,350 lbs. for Class A SRLs, and 900 lbs. for Class B SRLs, with the maximum arrest force of 1,800 lb. for both classes.

There is no doubt fall protection gear is robust. From anchors to harnesses to lanyards, Guardian designs and builds gear that you can count on, year in – year out. But just because we build our gear to last, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some equipment that is designed specifically for temporary installation only. Each product has an intended purpose, and knowing which products are meant for temporary versus permanent installation is a critical factor in selecting the right product. This week our engineering division gives some background as to what determines whether a product is designed for temporary or permanent use.

Read any instruction manual for a Self-Retracting Lifeline and I’d bet dimes to doughnuts you’ll read about how to calculate Fall Clearance. At least you will in Guardian instruction manuals. Calculating Fall Clearance is a vital part of the proper use of an SRL, because after all, what’s the point of using fall protection if - because of poor equipment choice or practice - you hit the ground anyway? Parallel to calculating Fall Clearance is taking care to avoid potential Swing Falls. Swing Falls happen when an anchor point is not directly above the location of a fall. At the onset of a fall, gravity pulls the worker down, and as the lifeline becomes taut, the worker begins to move in a pendulum motion in a effort to bring the lifeline to a point directly below the anchor. What happens next depends on what is below the anchor. If nothing, the worker goes on a wild ride, spinning and swinging until all the energy of the fall is expended and they find themselves hanging in their harness. If there is a wall or other obstruction, the worker will swing with the combined force generated by gravity and the tension force of the anchor (meaning a greater force than falling alone) into that obstruction. The result is obvious – not good.

I would be willing to bet if I asked you to use your imagination and pretend to look at a potential fall hazard, you would tilt your head back slightly as if you were looking up at a building that was under construction – and you’d be right, mostly. But what about falls below ground level? Remember, you don’t always have to climb up to be exposed to a fall, sometimes you can stand right where you are and watch the ground move away from you. No, I’m not talking about some sort of fever-induced hallucination, I’m talking about excavations, and specifically those with trench boxes.

Quick – think of an anchor! If you are anything like me, the first thing that comes to mind is that big, double-hooked and bechained behemoth hanging off the side of Blackbeard’s pirate ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. (What, you thought Blackbeard was just a legend? Tsk tsk…au contraire…) Today though, I’m thinking Fall Protection, and specifically of an unassuming but incredibly strong anchor that practically fits in your pocket.

Many of you in the fall protection industry – either manufacturers or end users – are familiar with a few of the basic performance requirements of Self-Retracting Lifelines (SRLs). For example, you know that Class A SRLs must stop a fall within 24” and the average arrest force must not exceed 1,350 lbs.

I get it – when shopping for a new harness, you want the latest and greatest; the one with all the bells and whistles, with the most connection points and lanyard keepers, and hey, maybe even a custom color! And while I agree that more is often better, in the case of D-rings, having more of them also comes with the responsibility of knowing how to use them correctly.

With the successful completion of OSHA’s Stand Down for Safety event last week, I’m sure there will be a lot more people in the market for fall protection gear. If you are, it might cross your mind to take a look through the local classifieds to see if you can find a good deal on some “slightly used but not abused” gear, such as harnesses, lanyards, or maybe even an SRL. Good idea? After all, if the gear looks good and seems to work, it should be just fine, right? Not so fast.

Much is made of creating an effective fall protection plan, one that addresses both potential fall hazards and what methods will be used to mitigate those hazards. If you have been involved in making one, excellent, you are well on your way to a safe jobsite. But if you stopped there, you left your work half finished.

You’ve fallen. In the blink of an eye you went from welding a beam to hanging 20’ above the ground in your safety harness. Your co-workers are scrambling to rescue you, and as you look down at the spinning earth below, you are grateful to be alive and that the danger is over. But is it? Maybe - maybe not.

For more than a year now, we have highlighted examples of how we see fall protection equipment being used in the real world. Instructions and other technical information are always great ways to learn about proper use and installation, but oftentimes the best way to understand the proper use of a product is to see it in action.

Here at Guardian, although we try to keep our posts on the light and informative side, sometimes you just can’t avoid serious news. Such is the case of the pending increase in OSHA fines. By August 2016, OSHA’s workplace fines could jump by about 80% - that’s right 80%. Meaning a willful violation would carry a $127,000 versus the now $70,000 fine, and a serious violation would be $12,000 versus $7,000. Furthermore, OSHA will now be able to increase fines relative to inflation, meaning those top-end fines may not stay there but continue to go up.

Alright, admit it, you’ve wedged a rock under one foot of a ladder to get it straight. Or you’ve climbed up a ladder that was only slightly wonky because, well, there were no rocks handy. Or you have had to kick out a patch of soil to level a bump in the yard in order to make a place to settle a ladder foot. We’ve all done these – and worse, but I’m not going there. At least any more.

Since you are a dedicated reader of our quarterly newsletters, you’ll no doubt remember our recent foray into the world of guardrails and the vast array of options available to address Fall Prevention. But what if I told you there was an additional guardrail solution that not only prevented workers from accessing fall hazards, but could also eliminate the need for toeboards? Sound impossible?

Every day, hundreds of thousands of workers rely on their fall protection gear to keep them safe. In numbers probably uncountable, these workers constantly clip and unclip, tie and untie, and snap and unsnap themselves from anchors day in and day out, most likely without giving much thought to the engineering that went into their fall protection gear other than, “This thing better not break if I go over the edge.” At least that’s what I would be thinking.

Versatility is often an underappreciated thing, but not in fall protection. Given the seemingly endless variety of conditions workers find themselves, any time a product can span jobs, or is designed to fit multiple applications, it seems to become a favorite. Such is the case with Guardian’s Temper Anchor. Because OSHA has different requirements for low slope (4/12 and under) and steep slope (4/12 and greater) roofs, fall protection plans and equipment must be adjusted accordingly (learn more about roof pitch here), but the Temper Anchor helps take some of the guess work out of selecting the right solution.

According to OSHA, a low slope roof is “a roof having a slope less than or equal to 4 in 12 (vertical to horizontal)”, and a steep roof as anything greater than 4/12. For those of you who are protractorally inclined (inclined, get it?), a low slope roof is from 0 degrees to about 18.4 degrees, and a steep roof is from 18.5 degrees on up to 45 degrees or more. Depending on which side of 4/12 your roof determines how you must address fall protection.

Anyone who regularly reviews the regulations from both OSHA and ANSI knows that these documents are full of numbers - lots of numbers. So many numbers in fact that newcomers to them often report nightmares with divisions of marching 6s and waves of 1926 and z359 bombers assailing them with cascades of 42s, 130-310s, and 3600s. (If you recognize any of these numbers, count yourself among the initiated, if not, follow me, trooper.).

In day-to-day usage outside of the construction industry, we often use the words “hole” and “opening” interchangeably, that is we simply consider them to be some sort of void - be it round or square, on the floor, on a wall, or even in the ceiling. But for the purposes of understanding OSHA regulations (specifically 1926.501 (b)(4)), it’s necessary to think about holes and openings as distinctly different entities, each with their own regulations in the context of fall protection.

In the 5 Stages of the Fall Protection Hierarchy, Stage 1 - Hazard Elimination – is the most preferred option. After all, when there is no fall hazard present, no fall can occur. But in the event working near a fall hazard is unavoidable, the next best option is Stage 2 – Fall Prevention. During Fall Prevention, a worker is prevented from accessing the fall hazard by some sort of physical barrier, a job for which guardrails are perfectly suited. With Guardian’s extensive line of guardrail systems, it may seem daunting to design the right solution for your particular situation, but it doesn’t have to be.

Attention to the smallest detail is an important factor in manufacturing industry-leading fall protection equipment. When it comes to guardrails, it might seem that these details aren’t as important (or apparent) as in some other products, but they are there nonetheless.

Fall Prevention systems, such as guardrails and warning lines, are awesome tools; they are simple to understand, easy to set up, and, when fully installed, completely obstruct access to fall hazards. But there is an often overlooked secondary use for Fall Prevention systems: the establishment of a controlled access zone.

It’s time again for our quarterly What’s Wrong With This Picture series! And to keep things in line with this quarter’s focus on guardrails, we’re keeping things simple for you.

And in the yellow corner, coming in at 42 inches high, weighing under 75 pounds, with a variable reach - the undisputed champion of Fall Prevention, the Guardian Fall Protection G-Rail System is our product of the quarter!

Sometimes the only way to do a job involves exposure to fall hazards. Selecting the right equipment is always key to ensuring worker safety, but this is especially true when working in Fall Arrest applications. Luckily, there is an easy way to remember the bare essentials for what is required when working in Fall Arrest: the ABCs.

At Guardian Fall Protection, we pride ourselves in our mission to provide innovative solutions to keep workers safe and save lives. We achieve this mission at least partly through working alongside some of the most talented individuals in the industry, such as Kirk Baisch at University Mechanical Contractors, Inc., to develop the next generation of fall protection products. It is our work with Kirk that resulted in the creation of our newest innovation, the Ground-Up Anchor System.

Fall protection equipment is most commonly associated with (go figure) saving someone’s life in the event of a fall. But, while this association isn’t necessarily wrong, it isn’t necessarily right either, because the ideal fall protection scenario is one in which equipment saves the worker before a fall occurs.

If there’s one thing we know about requirements for fall protection during construction work it’s that, if you are over 6’ above the next highest working surface (or less in certain states), you are legally required to use equipment specially designed to protect you from falling; the second you reach that height, you must be protected. Not doing so, aside from the obvious physical dangers it presents, may also put your company in line for a hefty fine from OSHA.

Technology makes life easier – or at least it should. But, with so many new gadgets being introduced to us on a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. And, if we can’t effectively break-down what the product is and why we should use it, we will typically stick to what we know works best, or, to put it another way, what we know works.

In the world of fall protection, manufacturer policies for safe and proper product use are constantly evolving as a result of information derived from product testing, newly released standards and regulations, and demand from various industries. And one such area where Guardian Fall Protection policy has adapted to best meet the needs of our customers relates to the question of self-retracting lifeline (SRL) recertification.

The team at Guardian always strives to do what is best for our customers’ needs. Not only do we ensure that our products will keep them safe on the jobsite, but also that products are efficiently shipped from point A to point B.

To show off the durability of the housing on our Velocity Cable SRL, we decided to shake things up a bit and take a different approach - we ran it over with a truck.

Now that we know how to properly inspect a self-retracting lifeline, what if you determine your SRL is damaged from extended use in the field? It could very well likely require a repair!

Guardian Fall Protection takes a lot of pride in knowing all of our products are thoroughly tested in accordance with the most current regulations. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z359.14 fall protection standard, most recently revised in 2014, applies specifically to self-retracting lifelines (SRLs), and forms the basis for the majority of Guardian’s SRL testing.

Guardian’s next installment of our world famous (work with us) What’s Wrong with This Picture series relates to a very common question in the industry: what self-retracting lifeline (SRL) is right for me?

One of the most rewarding parts about working in the fall protection industry is that no two days are ever the same. Whether developing new product, helping a customer resolve a problem unique to their jobsite, or ensuring that product is shipped correctly and on time, everyone at Guardian is always ready to adapt to the demands of the day and get you the answers you need as quickly and easily as possible.

Let’s be honest – A new full line catalog from Guardian is something that has been long overdue.

With well over 1,000 products available, our full line catalog has always been the tool that allowed for our customers to quickly and easily identify which of these 1,000 products they needed on their site to get the job done as safely and efficiently as possible.

In this week's update, we take a look at the most frequently cited OSHA regulations resulting from last year's inspections of jobsites by federal OSHA. Even though many of these regulations don’t correlate exactly with fall protection, highlighting them will hopefully shine a light on the sheer volume of potentially harmful workplace actions that take place every year.

A fall protection plan is a safety plan for workers who will be at elevated work areas. Having a detailed fall protection plan is essential to ensure the highest degree of worker safety. The plan aims to provide a safe working environment and to administer the use of fall protection measures, techniques, and equipment. 

And now time for everybody’s favorite—Guardian Fall Protection’s ongoing analysis of jobsite fall protection scenarios, What’s Wrong with This Picture?

Buckles are one of the primary elements on a full body harness that affect comfort and ease of donning. The right buckle for you ultimately comes down to personal preference, which is why Guardian offers harnesses with varying buckle configurations. The following video will offer a basic overview of each of the most common buckle types available on Guardian harnesses, including their connection, adjustment, and disconnection.

Full-body fall protection harnesses are designed with a variety of D-ring configurations. It is the location of the employed D-ring that determines the fall protection applications the harness can be used in (provided that the equipment manufacturer also approves use in the application), so it is important to select a harness suitable for your particular job.

The worlds of construction and engineering are full of numbers. Heights, diameters, percentages, and more help us design products, construct buildings, and comply with safety regulations. But sometimes this dirge of numbers can get confusing, and it is no different in the world of fall protection.

Whether you work on a construction site, shipyard, longshore operation, or in any other profession that requires working at heights, it is essential that you know when and where fall protection is required.

In our ongoing mission to educate the community about the importance of fall protection, every quarter Guardian will be offering performance specifications on a featured product. This quarter's featured product is our 4-Way Plate Anchor.

This quarter we’re focusing primarily on connecting devices, and will continue to do so in this next installment of our What’s Wrong with this Picture series—our ongoing analysis of jobsite fall protection scenarios.

Connecting devices are some of the most varied pieces of equipment in the fall protection industry. Length, material, single or double leg, hook design, and shock absorbing functionality are just some of the diverse traits of the connecting devices available on the market. Two of the most common connecting devices are lanyards and self-retracting lifelines (SRLs).

In our ongoing efforts to educate the community on the importance of fall protection products, every quarter Guardian will be offering performance specifications on a featured product. This quarter's featured product is our Diablo Grande SRL.

Guardrails and other fall prevention systems are a popular equipment choice because they allow workers to work freely without deploying other types of fall protection products.

As a leader in the fall protection industry, Guardian Fall Protection is frequently asked to provide assessments regarding the proper use of equipment. We are happy to say that the majority of our customers are using equipment safely and correctly. However, every once and a while we see something that raises some red flags.

The term ‘leading edge’ is common across the fall protection industry, and is used by everyone from OSHA, to contractors, to equipment manufacturers to identify where a fall hazard begins.

If asked to describe two things that are compatible, most people wouldn’t have much difficulty. We would probably hear a variety of responses involving such well suited pairs as salt and pepper, a screw and a screwdriver, or gasoline and an engine; the possibilities are endless.

To be compatible, two objects need to work together, at the very least without diminishing the functionality of each object independent from the other. Most frequently though, their functionality is in some way enhanced by using them in tandem.

Have you ever wondered how a Guardian product is born? The story of our new Diablo SRL is a perfect representation of the team effort required to bring a product from the idea stage through development, testing, and its ultimate release.

The Self-Retracting Lifeline (SRL) is one of the most common, and one of the most useful, pieces of fall protection equipment used in the construction industry today. Depending on the model, these versatile units can be either mounted on a full-body harness or to an anchorage connector, thereby allowing them to be either mobile or stationary, and many can also be used in combination with horizontal lifelines.

It is the beginning of the work day. Everyone is arriving at the job site, breakfasts digesting, cups of coffee in hand, getting ready to gear-up and get going. The job today of one particular crew will take them three stories up in an unfinished office building. Gray rebar juts out from the building’s frame. Sparks and metal are flashing out from a welding project on the main floor. The blaring alerts of a reversing concrete truck signal its arrival.

It’s amazing what words can do. Words are what allow us to have society and culture, to make discourse, and to analyze subtleties. They give meaning to what would otherwise be a dramatically different, and much more silent, world. Words can also sometimes be confusing, complicated, or inexact. There are few things more frustrating than having an idea to express, but being unable to find the perfect words to do so. But when using the right words can affect someone’s safety, they take on a whole new level of importance. For example, let’s compare two of the most prevalent words in the fall safety industry, ‘prevention’ and ‘protection.’ 

We at Guardian have a wide range of knowledge and talents. But, I wager I can name a field few of us are expert in—biology. The basic biological idea of ‘carrying capacity,’ though, is one that even a non-science-oriented brain like mine can understand: it is the largest amount of a given species that can be supported by their environment.

Snakes and Ladders was invented in India over 100 years ago and, eventually, made its way to the United States in the early 1900’s. The board game giant, Milton Bradley, changed the name to Chutes and Ladders in the spring of 1943; and the game remains popular with kids today. The object of the game is to successfully guide your game piece from the bottom square to the top square, being both aided by ladders and hindered by chutes.

OSHA recently released the 2011 top cited safety hazards in the construction industry, and residential fall protection was number one. In this last year, OSHA’s revised residential standards have caused quite a stir in the home building and roofing market, having many contractors scrambling to comply.

Per ANSI Z359.13-2009, there are very specific restrictions and limitations for fall arrest. For example, in a 6 foot freefall, the maximum amount of force allowed for a worker to endure is 1,800 pounds and the average amount of force cannot exceed 900 pounds. In a 12 foot freefall the maximum force allowed remains the same but the average is allowed to increase to 1,350 pounds because of the increased distance of the fall.

Horizontal Lifelines are one of the most common components of fall protection. However, they are also one of the most misunderstood. The debut of our new Horizontal Lifeline (HLL) Absorbinator Kits, gives us a chance to go over some of the most common questions when it comes to HLLs. I’ve gone directly to our experts on this. Our VP of Product & Business Development, Bradley Dillon, is nice enough to join us and help clarify a few points when it comes to Horizontal Lifelines in general and Absorbinator Kits in particular. Here they are:

The Sanford Heart Hospital has been under construction for the past year in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Henry Carlson is the contractor. When Carlson contacted Moen Steel Construction out of Omaha to do the steel work, they sent 31-year-old Jason Bauer. Jason had the rare luck to have a job he loved. Along with motorcycles and his family, working with steel was one of his favorite things. He’d even built his own motorcycle using the skills he’d learned as a journeyman ironworker.

As soon as the first skyscraper went up, there were window washers. It's a profession that has a lot of inherent danger in it. Improvised and unsafe equipment or practices were often commonplace. Even when newer, safer equipment was available, it wasn't able to be used because it wasn't authorized for such work. 

June 27th, 2011

As most of you know, the new rules for residential fall protection are now in effect. This directive states that people working in residential construction must use conventional fall protection and can no longer use other methods such as slide guards instead when working at heights of over six feet.

While the effects of the economy over the last two years have been felt everywhere, it is perhaps most felt in the construction industry. Go to any large city or suburban area and you would see unfinished construction projects and vacant lots where the first nail hadn’t even been driven. Contractors laid off workers and some companies went out of business altogether. The economic downturn didn’t just hurt contractors. It hurt those who make building materials and safety equipment.

It seems that a week can’t go by without the announcement of another large fine imposed by OSHA at another construction site. As I’ve mentioned before, these fines are only getting larger and inspections are becoming more and more common. On top of that, this year OSHA has implemented what they’re calling the Severe Violators Enforcement Program (SVEP). This program is intended to subject employers to more significant enforcement measures and penalties for willful, repeat, and failure-to-abate violations. It’s becoming clear that in many cases it’s not if OSHA will show up, but when. That being the case, it might be good to know a few things about what to do when OSHA shows up.

In Burnaby British Columbia, a 26-floor glass tower is slowly taking shape. When completed, it will house 180 suites. It is known as the Polygon Luma. An artist’s rendition of the building shows a modern, cutting edge building that is the perfect addition to any 21st century skyline. Unfortunately, the construction site is making mistakes that would fit better in the 20th century.

In 1995 OSHA issued a directive (STD 03-00-001) allowing residential construction companies to use specific alternative fall protection without showing evidence that conventional protections were infeasible or a greater hazard and without a written, site-specific plan. This directive was the result of concerns that conventional fall protection wasn’t always feasible. It was meant to be a temporary directive until more information could be gathered.

I once had a job for five minutes. A high school friend’s father owned a roofing and siding company and I needed a summer job. After a couple of phone calls, I was hired on. I was to show up at six a.m. at the worksite and begin work on a three story house in Sumner. I wasn’t very familiar with the area and ended up spending two hours trying to find the place. It ended up being this gigantic house with a great view and a steep roof.

In this economy, often it seems that any job is better than no job, but that’s not always true. Apply for a job and they have a lot of information about you, but what do you know about them? What if they have a long history of accidents and safety violations?

One of the simplest ways to keep people safe on a worksite is the use of guardrails. However, depending where you are, your guardrail might not be compliant with OSHA or your state regulations. While OSHA is a federal agency and their standards apply throughout the United States, many individual states have their own version of OSHA that not only includes OSHA’s standards, but additional state specific regulations.

There are few industries hit as hard by a tough economy as the construction industry. Between the cost of safety equipment and incentive based contracts that have the potential to rush workers even in dangerous environments, a bad economy can make a hazardous workplace even more high risk.

Every year more than 165,000 people require medical treatment for ladder-related injuries according the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. While there are many causes for a ladder related injury, one of the most common problems with using a ladder is keeping it level. Martin Dennis knows this first hand and he’s invented a solution. Now thanks to a new partnership with Guardian Fall Protection, he’s bringing that solution to the masses..

I'll be honest. I've never been crazy about climbing on ladders. I can't really trace it back to any particularly traumatizing event or anything. I suppose it's just that bit of me that knows I've fallen before and if I fell from a ladder, it could be very bad. If I deconstruct it, I know that I don't actually mind being on the ladder and once I've gotten to where I'm climbing to I'm pretty cool with that. It's the getting off and getting onto the ladder that gets me.

On March 4, 2011, two workers in Yonkers, New York were working on a scaffold on the twelfth story of a twenty-seven story building when the scaffolding collapsed. Both workers had personal fall arrest harnesses on that prevented them from falling to their deaths. Hanging from their harnesses twelve floors above the ground, the only thing likely on their mind was one word: Rescue.

Like a lot of people, I’ve never been one to read the instructions. Most devices are fairly self-explanatory and I’m not stupid. So why waste the time? Since becoming the technical writer at Guardian Fall Protection that opinion has entirely changed. Now that I’m writing the instructions, I get it. Give me something today and the first thing I’m going to ask is “Where are the instructions?”

The Guardian Fall Protection Beamer™ 3000 is undergoing an exciting product change! Long a mainstay in the industry thanks to its superior durability and performance, the Beamer™ 3000 installs to I or H beams of a wide variety of widths and thicknesses and slides smoothly along the beam during work.

The Dual SRL Bracket is designed to assemble two single-leg SRLs into a dual-leg SRL, allowing the user to maintain 100% tie-off when transitioning between anchor points.

Guardian is pleased to announce the introduction of our new Guardrail Outrigger Post. Designed to provide additional stability at the ends (or any gap) of a guardrail system, the Outrigger Post eliminates the need to use a full-sized guardrail section as a stabilizer.

Guardian’s new Vertical Beamer 3000 is a uniquely versatile anchor for use on both vertical and horizontal beams. Its fast, one-person installation does not require any tools or special equipment; simply adjust the sliding pawl to the proper location, tighten, and lower the locking lever.

If you are looking for an easy-to-install trailing beam anchor, check out our new Roller Sling Anchor. Simply wrap around the beam (or other approved structural anchor), attach an SRL or lanyard, and get to work.

Guardian is pleased to announce the release of the new Ground-Up Anchor System. The Ground-Up Anchor System allows the user to safely install an overhead Fall Arrest anchor into a pre-installed receptacle, ensuring immediate protection on the job.

Once a fall occurs, it is critical that a rescue plan be put in to motion. To help expedite worker rescue, Guardian is proud to announce our new 18’ Rescue Ladder Kit.

With the release of our 20’ and 40’ web models, Guardian Fall Protection is pleased to announce our Velocity SRL product line is now complete!

The new Guardrail Knuckle (part # 15186), from Guardian Fall Protection, is the ideal base attachment solution for permanent guardrail systems.

The G-rail, from Guardian Fall Protection, has long been an industry favorite. Simple to install and powder-coated for superior durability, the G-rail is the first choice of many customers for assembling a safe and effective guardrail system.

Guardian Fall Protection is proud to announce the release of our new Surfacetech series of products.

Guardian Fall Protection is pleased to announce the release of our Diablo Grande SRL with nylon-coated galvanized steel cable lifeline (part #42011). Previously only non-coated lifeline options were available.

Guardian Fall Protection is excited to announce the launch of our brand new Velocity Series of self-retracting lifelines (SRLs).

Guardian Fall Protection is proud to announce the release of our new single and double Diablo Tie-Back self-retracting lifelines (SRLs).

Guardian Fall Protection is pleased to announce the release of our new line of harnesses, the Deluxe Tux.

February 29th, 2012 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KENT, WASHINGTON — Guardian Fall Protection announced today the release of an industry first: a feature packed, budget friendly fall protection harness line up, the Velocity Economy Harnesses. Each Velocity harness features dual lanyard keepers that reduce the risk of dragging and snagging lanyards. A special identification label allows employees to personalize their harness without jeopardizing the integrity of the webbing. The harness also comes equipped with finished webbing ends to prevent damage as well as providing a clean, professional look. Perhaps the most unique features is the red webbing core of the harness, which provides a visual warning to the user in the case that the webbing has been damaged and should be taken out of service.

According to Jasson Farrier, VP of Guardian, “The Velocity series harnesses provide a worker comfort and safety on par with the rest of Guardian’s product line, but they have an additional feature. The “Web Wear” stitching that allows for easy inspection. This harness was developed after extensive research from our production and manufacturing division through working with end users. The Velocity will eventually replace our legendary ‘HUV’ product line that so many contractors have grown to love. We are simply adding features and making a better product, while maintaining quality at a solid price.”

The Velocity has a variety of different configurations that you can choose from, which include: chest and leg pass thru buckles, chest pass thru buckle and leg tongue buckles and (in the near future) 3 D-rings. The Velocity Economy Harnesses is more than just the tired old basic harness. It is a brand of quality never seen before in an economy style harness.

If you would like more information about this product, please visit contact your local sales associate at 1.614.846.2525.

Guardian Fall Protection is an international leader of fall protection, engineered systems and ladder safety products. Our brands include Guardian, ESG, Framepro, and Qualcraft industries. We strive for the high quality at a competitive price. All of our products are designed to meet or exceed any applicable ANSI and OSHA requirements.

Guardian Fall Protection is constantly in the process of reviewing existing product design to determine if every product is the best it can possibly be. After all, why settle for exceeding expectations when we can blow them out of the water? If there is ever an opportunity to improve product performance and customer satisfaction, whether big or small, we’re going to take it.

In our ongoing efforts to constantly provide products that meet the highest standards of performance, Guardian Fall Protection continuously reviews existing product to assess the need for any design changes. It is our vision at Guardian to be the market’s first choice for fall protection and safety products, and we know sometimes the smallest details can make the biggest differences.

The Guardian Fall Protection Safe-T Ladder Gate (part # 10798) has long been a mainstay in the fall protection industry. Used in combination with the Safe-T Ladder Extension (part # 10800), the Safe-T Ladder Gate easily swings open to allow a worker to pass from a ladder to the rooftop, and closes securely behind to prevent falls back through the ladder rail opening.

In our continued effort to offer the best possible equipment to our customers, Guardian Fall Protection has recently made a number of design upgrades to our Seraph Harnesses.

Guardian Fall Protection is excited to announce the re-release of our newly upgraded Collapsible Guardrail System.

Guardian Fall Protection is changing the color of the webbing for the majority of lanyards and other products.

Guardian Fall Protection is committed to our mission of constantly working to provide innovative fall protection solutions. With this in mind, we are pleased to announce an upgrade to our Diablo Series of self-retracting lifelines (SRLs).

Please be aware that the Guardian Fall Protection BMR Anchor family of products (part #s 00110, 00120, and 00133) is officially being discontinued. BMR Anchors are high-quality and versatile anchors for use in combination with steel I-beams, but are made redundant by Guardian’s wide selection of other Beamer™ products, such as the Beamer™ 2000 (part # 00101), the Minotaur Beamer™ (part # 00106), and more.

Please be aware that Guardian Fall Protection’s UltraPro Scaffolding line of products (part #s 62000, 62001, 62002, 62003, 62004, and 62005) is officially being discontinued. Once stock is depleted, UltraPro Scaffolding will no longer be available.

Please be aware that Guardian Fall Protection is officially discontinuing our Hammer Mobile Fall Arrest System (part # 14005) and Mini-Hammer Cart (part # 14001). These products will no longer be available once existing stock is depleted.

Please be aware that Guardian Fall Protection is officially discontinuing our Warning Line Transporter (part # 15230).

Please be aware that Guardian Fall Protection is officially discontinuing our Equalizer Harness Series.

Please be aware that Guardian Fall Protection is officially discontinuing our Aardvark Series of self-retracting lifelines (SRLs).

Please be aware that Guardian Fall Protection is officially discontinuing our Single Blow Blocker Series of self-retracting lifelines (SRLs).

A question that comes up frequently: “Why can’t I just use the ________ anchor for window washing?”

The answer to that question has a deep basis in the different codes and design requirements for window washing activities; it is not necessarily because anything is actually wrong with an anchor that is “not rated for window washing.” This article outlines those codes and design distinctions.

Fall clearance is the distance between the working surface and the surface below. When considering what fall protection system to implement on your jobsite, fall clearances are very important and must be properly evaluated in order to ensure worker safety. During this evaluation, all additional obstructions, such as I-beams and jobsite equipment, should be taken into consideration.

Published on October 3rd, 2011; the new ANSI Z359.7 “Standard for Qualification Testing” was a game changer for the fall protection industry. These new rules will take effect and set new requirements for all fall protection manufacturers.

I am privileged to work with an exceptional team of people, each of whom take part in providing innovative, custom-engineered safety solutions to a diverse range of customers.

In the hierarchy of fall protection, fall restraint systems are always the preferred choice.

As confirmed by the hierarchy of fall protection, one of the best solutions for eliminating fall hazards on the job site is to install a permanent perimeter guardrail at the roof edge. And, not only does a permanent guardrail protect your workers from rooftop hazards, it also diminishes the amount of necessary employee safety training, dismisses the need for a rescue plan, and minimizes costs associated with maintenance and re-certification.

Millions of workers climb ladders each and every day to access their respective work areas in applications that range from satellite towers to crane towers to theatre productions. And a few of these workers include the team members at ESG who climb tens of thousands of feet of ladders every year.

This month, ESG moved to a new and improved facility headquarters with Guardian Fall Protection. Our new base of operations is located at 6305 S 231st Street in Kent, Washington, and it provides a number of improvements over our previous building (most notably, expanded office and warehouse space).

Hundreds of different types of fall protection equipment, designed be incorporated in either a fall restraint or a fall arrest system, are sold on a daily basis. And it is the duty of the trained and designated Competent Person to determine which of these systems should be incorporated on the job site to keep employees out of harm’s way.

The most common fall protection anchor point consists of a vertical steel pipe, base plate, and tie-off ring. In collaboration with Guardian Fall Protection, we utilize their CB Series anchor points (including the CB-12 and CB-18) for tie-back anchorage purposes.

Documentation is a prevalent part of every contractor or organization’s safety plans and operating procedures.  Every completed construction project and facility operating within the United States should have thousands of pages of associated paperwork that detail such plans and procedures. This paperwork can range from MSDS sheets, to extinguisher inspection logs, to O & M manuals on a refrigerator. 

With the holidays fast approaching, everyone strives to find the perfect gift for their close family and friends. Some people are meticulous and will stick to a strict overall budget, while some will go even further and set a budget for each and every one of their loved ones.

Safety is all about eliminating risk, and tackling the highest risk hazards first is standard in our industry. And, while there will always be better methods and instruments that will allow for us to improve safety on our job sites, only in a perfect world is there enough time and money to implement everything as it readily becomes available.

Though easily preventable, falls through skylights are one of the leading causes of worker fatality in the industry today. A recent National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) survey revealed that approximately 22% of all fatal falls reported occurred when workers fell through skylight or smoke-vent skylight opening.

A few weeks ago, we discussed how to ensure your new anchor point installation can withstand a 5,000 pound load on a given structure in our blog post entitled, ‘Determining Anchor Strengths – Part 1. New Installations’.

Fall protection manufacturers in the market place create anchor points that are designed for 5,000 pounds per OSHA requirements. Making an anchor point that can withstand a 5,000 pound ultimate load is seemingly straight forward and simple to do, as anchor points come in a number of different shapes and size with various attachment options depending on the application.

Over the course of the last forty years, the amount of Americans killed in automobile accidents has been nearly cut in half from a peak of over 54,000 in 1972 to less than 33,000 in 2012. [1] This decrease is much accredited to manufacturer and state laws focusing on airbags, seatbelts, and speed limits. Additionally, vehicles of the 1970’s were heavy and rigid making them more accident prone; whereas, vehicles that are made today are designed to crumple and absorb forces.

A standing seam metal roof (SSMR) is known for low maintenance when compared to other roofing options, however, gutter cleaning and general rooftop repair still remains a necessity. To safely perform these rooftop duties, a fall protection anchor point needs to be installed. However, an SSMR presents a unique challenge for the attachment of such anchor points. Especially considering that an SSMR typically has a roof slope ranging from 3/12 to 5/12, but can sometimes be even steeper.

ESG team members visit hundreds of facilities each year whose existing fall protection systems require inspection, testing, evaluation, or re-certification. Unfortunately, these particular systems frequently lack documentation, proper labeling, and compliancy with OSHA/ANSI standards.

While many commercial roofs have stairwell, elevator or exterior ladder access, roof hatches are one of the most common means of commercial rooftop access. I find that I am frequently asked whether or not it is truly a requirement that roof hatches have guarding protection. And yes, it is an OSHA general and construction industry requirement that roof hatch openings are properly protected.

In accordance with the hierarchy of fall protection set forth by ANSI, employers should always first look to completely eliminate a fall hazard. If eliminating a fall hazard is not possible, then the next best solution is to install a passive system, such as a guardrail. Guardrails are available in a number of different options such as portable weighted systems and permanently mounted products. Additionally, guardrails can be provided in powder coated steel, galvanized steel, aluminum and stainless steel. With numerous guardrail options now available on the market, end users can easily purchase an ‘off-the-shelf’ product that meets their needs without having to make a custom order.

We frequently see interior applications of overhead fall protection systems in the aviation, bus, and railcar industries. Typically, workers in these industries will need to perform routine and emergency maintenance on top of the equipment which can present itself as a fall hazard. Due to the nature of this type of maintenance, the inclusion of passive fall protection systems such as guardrails is not possible. As a result, overhead fall protection systems are commonly installed to provide safe access for these workers.

Let me first start by saying that I am not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV. However, that does not mean that I cannot have an understanding of the possibility and severity of orthostatic intolerance. Some other more associated, commonplace terms are “harness induced pathology” or “suspension trauma”.

If you have ever been involved in an industry where the donning of personal fall protection equipment was a necessity, you have (more than likely) heard of the standard, “The employer shall provide for prompt rescue of employees in the event of a fall or shall assure that employees are able to rescue themselves.”

In order to promote safe rooftop access and OSHA compliance on its standing seam metal roof, Cedar Heights Middle School requested a fall protection system.

Kalihi Kai Elementary School in Hawaii consists of five buildings with six different roof levels. As recognized by the Hawaii Department of Education, the rooftops for this particular facility would need to provide continual safe access for workers who would be performing future routine maintenance and leak repair.

The newly constructed addition to the North Buckhead MARTA Station required fall protection anchors that allowed end users to access roof maintenance. In order to verify the unique, non-penetrating connection type ESG mobilized at the facility to perform an onsite verification pull test. The anchors were tested to 1,800 pounds utilizing a come-along wench pulley and a properly calibrated load test cell.

Avalon Bay is a new apartment building under construction in the heart of Hayes Valley, San Francisco. ESG is careful to ensure our systems are compliant with both the federal standards (OSHA / ANSI / IWCA) and state specific standards.

The Barton Springs Apartments project was brought to Engineered Service Group (ESG) with a pour date already set in motion. In order to bypass the critical path of the project’s pour date, ESG proposed an epoxy connection to be utilized for the custom CB-1-B and Rigging Sleeve anchor rather than a standard cast-in-place connection. The ESG team designed, fabricated, and internally tested these anchors and rigging sleeves to the standards provided by a stamped engineered design.

ESG is committed to providing excellent customer service as well as innovative solutions to design fall protection for our clients. Recently, ESG had the opportunity to collaborate with Compass General Construction to design a horizontal lifeline for a new luxury apartment building in West Seattle.

ESG has experienced significant growth over the past year, much of which has occurred internationally.But local projects always have a special significance for us, which is why we were so pleased when the University of Washington requested our help in designing a fall protection & window washing system for their football stadium, which recently reopened after more than a year of renovations.

In Kauai, the new Dow Agroscience building required pass-through horizontal lifelines to provide safe access to their three PV arrays, as they require regular maintenance and repair.

To allow maintenance workers to access the rooftop of its indoor practice facility, the University of Virginia needed to first install fall protection to keep those workers safe.

The wood constructed Minor Street Apartments building required fifty window washing tie-back anchors be installed by the General Contractor.

In Olympia, Century Link’s service operating center required a pass-thru horizontal lifeline assembly to provide maintenance workers safe access to the building’s rooftop gutters and mechanical units on the roof while remaining tied-off at all times.

The newly constructed Saint Francis hospital required tie-back anchors that allowed future maintenance workers to access the building façade to perform tasks such as window washing. These tie-back anchors would allow the workers to suspend in a bosun’s chair from one tie-back anchor and while having a secondary fall arrest line connected to another, separate independent anchor.

At the King Street Bus Terminal in Seattle, Sound Transit required a horizontal lifeline to be placed along approximately 700 feet of canopy so that maintenance workers could safely clear drains and wash glass building exteriors. The horizontal lifeline systems were designed utilizing Guardian Fall Protection’s stainless steel Absorbinator.

More than forty feet above ground level, the SAS Global facility rooftop was in need of a fall protection solution that would provide safe access for both maintenance and inspection personnel.  

Western Washington University required a fall protection system for the Shannon Point Marine Research center located in Anacortes, WA. The fall protection system was to include horizontal lifelines capable of securing 2 users in fall arrest, or 4 users in fall restraint, and was to be designed and manufactured by a party with at least 10 years of continuous experience in manufacturing and successful in-service acceptability and performance.

The Greater Columbus Convention Center is a 1.7 million square foot facility located in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Overtime, the large, unique roof surface of this building has gathered sediment from harsh weather conditions and, as a result, needed to be cleaned. However, there were no fall protection systems installed on the rooftop that would grant safe, OSHA-compliant access to workers to do so.

The Hyatt Pensacola hotel located is under construction and scheduled for completion soon. The mid-rise building designers determined that window washing and building façade maintenance activities could be performed from a man-lift, which eliminated the need for permanent rooftop davits or tieback anchors. However, the designers did determine that fall protection anchors would be necessary to provide a permanent tie-off solution for the Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) of those looking to gain rooftop access.

The Ka’iwakiloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center required a fall protection system for the maintenance, repairs, and inspections of the standing seam metal roof. The architect specified single anchor points were to withstand 5,000 pound load in any direction without detachment or fracture and were to be with a low clearance for the aesthetics of the roof.

Located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Avalon Bay Communities operates a six-story apartment community with a courtyard, rooftop deck and green vegetation roof. The community contains 265 total units consisting of studio, one, and two bedroom apartments. The units in this community have large windows and glass railed balconies, all of which require frequent cleaning.

The Oak Hill Supportive Community facility required a fall protection system for maintenance, repair, and inspection of their rooftop. The facility’s architect had specified that the single anchor points incorporated in this fall protection system needed to withstand a 3,600 pound load in any direction without detachment or fracture and should also be capable of securing two workers in the event of fall arrest or four workers in the event of fall restraint.

General Partnership’s advanced treatment plant required a horizontal lifeline that would allow maintenance workers to safely access the plant’s rooftop vegetation and equipment.