Are you aware that it is not just a matter of having a Fall Protection System in place on your premises, this system needs to be checked and maintained regularly due to defects which can occur over time? These defects can be caused by a harsh environment, regular use, tampering etc. The effects of this can include fraying, wear and tear and also the weakening of a lanyard or harness due to weathering or paint damage.
It is for this reason that it is a legal requirement to ensure that your installed system is fully functional and fit for the purpose in which it is intended. This is why annual inspection is required. A trained expert should carry out this inspection and ensure that the system is fully certified under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.
A detailed inspection of the system will include:
- Checking for any sign of damage to the cable and all fittings.
- Ensuring that the shuttle runs over all the brackets smoothly.
- Inspecting any harnesses and lanyards for signs of any weakness or wear and tear.
- Carrying out a pull test on cable end terminations.
Inspection before EVERY use
Although you are legally permitted to re-certify all PFPE every six months, it is still very much advisable to inspect your own equipment as often as possible, definitely before every use. Any potential weaknesses or damage to the lanyard and/or harness could then be identified. Once this inspection has been carried out, care and consideration should always be given to ensure that your protective equipment is put on and worn the correct way. It is important to remember that, in the unfortunate event of a fall, the victim will more than likely be left hanging for a considerable amount of time before a rescue operation is carried out. This is why the little details in the consideration given to applying your harness is so important. Even when a harness is put on correctly, it can still only be a matter of minutes before the victim’s blood circulation can begin to be cut off, so you can imagine the discomfort involved if the harness is not being properly worn.
If differing components of PFPE are being used, it is essential to ensure that these components are compatible with each other and that the right combination is being used. This is why training is vital and needs to be provided for anyone who intends to use the system, be they employees, maintenance personnel or outside contracters.
The steps to ensuring that a fall prevention system is fully functional:
- Make sure that the correct system is designed to suit the conditions.
- Check that the required system is then installed correctly.
- Confirm that a rescue plan should be in place to ensure that the person is recovered as swiftly as possible in the case of fall arrest.
- Provide adequate training for any individual who intends to use the system, be they internal or external to the company.
- Instruct individuals to inspect the system and all equipment before every use.
- Have the system inspected and re-certified by an expert; Every 6 months for PFPE and every 12 months for the fall prevention equipment. This is a legal requirement!
It is recommended that the above steps should all be taken to ensure that a safe working environment is provided. It is your responsibility to ensure that the fall prevention equipment is maintained and re-certified, and that everyone who accesses your roof is fully trained and follows the correct procedures. You could be held accountable otherwise.
*Skyway has Professional Indemnity Insurance which allows us to recertify all types of fall prevention equipment. Our systems are designed to BS7883 and EN795 standards.