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What is the difference between an inspection and a recertification of safety gear?

Keeping your fall protection equipment in good working order is essential to make sure it can save your life if an accident occurs. Inspections and recertifications are part of the process to keep your gear up to code. Daily inspections by the user and yearly inspections by a competent person are required by OSHA Standard 1926.502(d)(21) and ANSI Standard 359.2.

Recertification

When a piece of equipment is recertified, this means that it’s sent back to the manufacturer. The manufacturer will strip the materials apart and put your equipment back together to make sure that everything is restored to a brand new condition. The recertification is especially helpful for a self-retracting lifeline because you cannot simply inspect this piece of equipment and see all of the webbing or cable bound up inside the housing.

Daily Inspections

Daily pre-use inspections from the person wearing the fall protection should be conducted prior to starting work. If any defects in the safety materials are discovered, they equipment should be removed from service immediately.

Some things to take notice of during the inspection:

  • Damage to a lifeline or harness
    • Frays
    • Cuts
    • Burns
    • Mold
    • Discoloration
    • Cuts
    • Stitching and/or load indicators
  • Check the functionality of the locking mechanism
    • Make sure the gates lock properly

You can find an easy-to-follow inspection form for harnesses, self-retracting lifelines, harnesses, anchors, and vertical lifelines in our resource library. All our Malta Dynamics safety resources are free to download.

Annual Inspections

ANSI 359.2 requires at least a yearly inspection of fall protection equipment by a Competent Person. OSHA defines a Competent Person as “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable conditions in the surroundings and work areas which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous and who has authorization to make prompt corrective action.”

Some of the things a Competent Person will look for during an annual inspection are:

  • Loose or damaged parts
  • Make sure all labels are present and fully legible
  • Wire and rope inspections to look for damage or incompetence
  • Housings on self-retracting lifelines
  • Buckles and D-Rings on harnesses
  • Connectors on lifelines

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