Anchorage is defined by OSHA as a secure point of attachment for lifeline, lanyards or deceleration device. The most overlooked component in a personal fall arrest system is planning for a suitable anchorage point. The following guidelines should be followed when planning or determining anchorage and connection:
- Anchorage point shall be capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds per employee attached. Examples of what might be appropriate anchor points are steel members or I-beams if an acceptable strap or I-beam anchor is available for the connection, large eye-bolts made of an appropriate grade steel or other points that have been designed for anchor points.
- Anchorage points shall be independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms.
- The strength of a personal fall arrest system is based on it being attached to an anchoring system which does not reduce the strength of the system. Therefore, if a means of attachment is used that will reduce the strength of the system, that component should be replaced by a stronger one, but one that will also maintain the appropriate maximum arrest force characteristics.
- Do not use a lanyard with a snap hook clipped onto itself, unless specifically designed for that application. This can reduce the strength of the lanyard by as much as 70%
- Anchorage points should be positioned at or above the D-ring of the harness.
- Employees should plan for a 19 ft. clearance if a fall would occur.
- Length of Lanyard – Free Fall (6ft) + Average Height of Worker (6ft) + Energy Absorber Deceleration Distance (4ft) + Safety Factor (3ft) = Total Fall Distance (19ft)
- The shock absorbing end of the lanyard shall be attached to your body harness. The other end of the lanyard shall be connected to your anchor point.
- Anchor points should be as directly above you as possible to prevent swing fall hazards.
- When selecting anchor points look for other hazards below if a fall would occur.
- Inspect anchorage connector attachment point for corrosion, cracks, deformities or other defects that may weaken the structure.
- Do not attach to vertical structures unless a means of restraining the connector from sliding down the structure is present.
- Never connect a shock-absorbing lanyard to a retractable lanyard.
- Never connect more than one employee to a lanyard.
- Knots shall not be used for an anchorage point.
- Double locking snap hooks shall always be used. Inspect the snap hook to ensure it fully closes and locks.
- D-ring straps or chokers shall be tightly wrapped around the anchorage. The strap may be wrapped more than once to shorten the strap.
- Avoid working where your line may cross or tangle with that of other workers or objects.
- Never clamp, knot or prevent the lifeline from retracting or being taut.
- OSHA requires that the maximum arresting force to be placed on an employee not to exceed 1,800 lbs. To achieve this the personal fall arrest system must be rigged so the potential free fall is never greater than 6 ft.
- Avoid working where the lifeline will be in contact with or abrade against unprotected sharp edges. Provide protection for the lifeline or lanyard when possible.
If you have questions about anchor points or need assistance in determining the appropriate anchor points, please contact the Safety Department.