Cable systems form a crucial part of fall prevention
Personal fall protection is very different to collective protection such as guardrails, as it requires specific training and competence to ensure that it is used correctly.
Understanding cable systems
Cable systems such as the KeeLine are made up of a horizontal lifeline system that should be used in conjunction with the appropriate fall prevention equipment. Our very human nature makes us eternally optimistic, assuming a fall won't occur. However all it takes is one brief moment of carelessness for an accident to happen. If there is a need for attaching to a cable system, then a fall is a very real possibility and the necessary precautions need to be taken.
This is why it is so important to take the time to ensure that you are fully trained up on how the system works, along with how to correctly apply all of the required PPE to match this system.
When to use safety lines
It is important to realise that a cable system is not the first step in protecting workers. The best option is always to avoid working at height entirely, or to prevent falls using the existing workplace. If work at height cannot be avoided, then installing a tried and trusted guardrail solution such as KeeGuard would be the next step.
What is fall prevention?
The installation of a cable system is the next consideration where this is not possible. This should ideally prevent the user from falling over the edge at all, eliminating a fall arrest scenario where a rescue plan would need to be implemented. This is referred to as "fall prevention".
However, a fall prevention system is not always possible. Sometimes the only area suitable for installing the system is too close to the roof edge, and fall arrest will inevitably occur...
How a fall arrest system works
After a fall has occurred, the internal shock absorber absorbs the impact over a distance, which reduces the force being applied to the body.
The follow-up rescue plan needs to swing into action quickly, as the faller may be in some distress and have suffered significant injuries. This should only be carried out by trained operatives who know what they are doing.
Inspecting your cable system
As with all other equipment which is used for working at height, it is of utmost importance to ensure that these systems are manufactured and installed to the correct standards(for example, a Kee Line cable system is compliant with current EN 795:2012 regulations). All roof cable cable systems also need to be inspected and re-certified at least once a year, although a visual inspection should be carried out before every use to ensure that there are no defects or abnormalities. The same goes for all PPE. All users should have received the required training.
Important: if you are unsure what fall protection equipment you require, or suspect a defect with the cable system itself, you should immediately report it and have it replaced as soon as possible.