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How do I determine if my building can support a fall protection system?

A fall protection system consists of several pieces working in unison to provide fall arrest or fall restraint for working at height. When the systems are attached to a building, it’s generally installed permanently or semi-permanently. Fall protection systems can be installed on the exterior of a building, on the walls or on the interior of a building possibly attached to structural beams, fixed ladders, and on the top of a flat roof.

There are many types of Engineered Fall Protection systems. Some consist of elaborate cable systems with turns and tensioners, some are with rigid tracks with an enclosed trolley. These types of engineered lifeline systems workers can utilize a personal fall arrest system and achieve a good amount of mobility while working at heights.

The OSHA Regulations

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) states the following regulations on Personal Fall Protection:

  • 140(c)(11) – The employer must ensure that each horizontal lifeline:
    • 140(c)(11)(i) – Is designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a qualified person; and
    • 140(c)(11)(ii) – Is part of a complete personal fall arrest system that maintains a safety factor of at least two.
    • 140(c)(12) – Anchorages used to attach to personal fall protection equipment must be independent of any anchorage used to suspend employees or platforms on which employees work. Anchorages used to attach to personal fall protection equipment on mobile work platforms on powered industrial trucks must be attached to an overhead member of the platform, at a point located above and near the center of the platform.

 

According to OSHA standard 1926.32, “Qualified means one who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.”

Since the worker is wearing a personal fall arrest system and attached to an engineered system with several components. The system is then affixed to your building structure. There are several things to consider when determining if the building and the engineered system are capable of withstanding a fall and successfully arresting the fall of a person. There are usually at least a dozen different components that must work in unison to ensure the safety of a worker, and that the system allows the worker to travel as needed in a hazard area.

Choose Reputable Guidance

A reputable fall protection installer will guide you through this entire process securing structural engineering, designing, and installing your system, and training your employees on proper use and inspection.

With so many components working in unison, an engineered fall protection system should not be installed or designed by someone who is not an expert. The simplest way to answer “how can I tell if my building is capable of withstanding a fall protection system” is that you shouldn’t attempt to determine that. Malta Dynamics has a network of partners across the country, and we’re happy to connect you with someone in your area.

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