In construction we come across high-risk tasks which in some circumstances cannot be controlled. Some ways they can be controlled is by using fall prevention methods like guardrail systems, coverings over floor openings, warning line systems or even fall restraints. When these options are not feasible we have to utilize Fall Arrest Systems. These are designed to control a workers fall to prevent serious injury or death. Examples include safety net systems and personal fall arrest systems, but how do we know which system is our safest option?
Selecting the correct SRL
What is the difference between a Standard SRL (anchorage point designed to be above the worker) & an SRL-LE (allows the anchorage point to be behind the worker at ground level)? The SRL-LE has energy absorption capabilities that ensures the force generated in a fall is effectively reduced to protect the worker and the integrity of the lifeline contacting the leading edge. The impact load from a Standard SRL on the leading edge without energy absorption may cause the lifeline to fail and snap leading to a serious injury or death. When planning your work, ensure the right type of SRL is used and the selection of the proper anchor point. Anchor points used in Fall Arrest Systems shall be rated to absorb 5000 pounds and MUST be installed per the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use. This includes; connections, weight limits, proper anchorage positioning to reduce the risk of swing falls, setback distances, and fall clearance distances.
Prior to use, SRL inspections shall include:
- Ensure safety retractable locks when lifeline is pulled sharply with no slippage. Labels must be present and fully legible.
- Check the connecting hooks or carabineers for damage, distortion, or corrosion.
- Check the housing for distortion, cracks or other damage.
- Inspect each component of the personal fall protection system.
- Check the lifeline for cuts, burns, and abrasions. The lifeline must fully extend and retract smoothly with no hesitation or slack on the line.
Remember: Fall protection equipment, when involved in any type fall arrest, shall ALWAYS be removed from service until re-certified by a qualified entity.