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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

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.

So, follow along with us and ask yourself, what’s wrong with this picture?

What's Wrong With This Picture? - Before Markup

Did you find everything?

Unfortunately, in this case, there’s a lot to find.

What's Wrong With This Picture? - After Markup

Let’s start at the top with our anchorage connector, which itself is just fine; it appears to be welded or bolted onto the tank, and provided that it has been determined by a Competent Person to be a 5,000 lb. rated anchor, there are no problems there.

Rebar to Anchorage Connector

First Problem: Rebar Hook to the Anchorage Connector

However, the attachment of a rebar hook to the anchorage connector is where we find our first problem. Rebar hooks are designed to attach to structural rebar or other compatibly sized structural anchors, and typically not to a standard D-ring anchorage connector. OSHA could easily consider this to be an incompatible connection (OSHA 1926.502(d)(6)(v)).

We can eliminate our rebar hook problem though, because the larger issue lies in the manner in which the entire non-shock lanyard is being used.

Lanyard On Leading Edge

Second Problem: Lanyard on the Leading Edge

There is clearly the potential for the lanyard to come into contact with the Leading Edge (LE) of the fall hazard, and if such a scenario exists it is always recommended to use a SRL-LE (leading edge self-retracting lifeline); SRL-LEs have a cable lifeline, an integrated shock absorber, and are rated for LE use by the manufacturer.

Daisy-Chaining

Third Problem: "Daisy-Chaining" A Lanyard & SRL

Furthermore, the non-shock lanyard is attached to another connector, in this case an SRL. “Daisy-chaining” connecting devices in this manner is not permitted, since doing so can potentially result in free fall and/or swing fall in excess of what is permitted by the system.

We’ve now identified our primary problems, so let’s transition from identifying problems to fixing them.

The first step? Completely remove the non-shock lanyard from the system, and connect the SRL directly to the anchorage connector. The second step? Switch over to an SRL-LE. The SRL shown has a web lifeline and no shock absorber (at least visible to us), so should not be used in LE applications.

Using An Unsecured Ladder to Reach the SRL

Fourth Problem: Using An Unsecured Ladder to Reach the SRL

But, you might ask, how will a worker safely reach their SRL? It appears as if the non-shock lanyard was originally deployed to lower the height of the SRL so that it could be accessed via ladder. Removing the lanyard therefore seems to create a new problem for us. However, this problem is easily resolved through the use of a “tag line.”

A tag line is simply a long, thin rope with one end attached to the captive eye of the SRL snap hook, and the other end lowered down to ground level. A tag line allows the SRL to remain fully retracted, while also allowing the worker to pull the snap hook down to them when it’s time to connect and get to work. In this scenario, using a tag line would completely eliminate the need to climb a ladder to reach the SRL.

So, how did you do?

Hopefully you were right along with us, but don’t worry too much if not. Guardian has a wide range of site assessment and training services available, so never hesitate to contact us if the safe use of equipment is ever a concern. Real-world fall protection applications aren’t always easy or straightforward to assess, but Guardian Fall Protection is here to help you every step along the way.

Stay tuned next quarter for another fall protection scenario!