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Archive for October, 2012

Personal Fall Arrest Systems (Part 2)

Planning your fall protection system and how it will be used before starting your work is extremely important.  Consider all factors that will affect your safety before, during and after a fall.


  • Anchorage points shall be capable of supporting at least 5,000 lbs.
  • When more than one personal fall arrest system is attached to the same structure, the strength requirements stated above must be multiplied by the number of personal fall arrest systems attached to the structure.
  • Anchorages used for attachment of a personal fall arrest system shall be independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms.
  • Guardrails shall not be used as anchorage points.  Guardrails are only required to support 200 lbs of force.

Free Fall

  • OSHA requires that the maximum arresting force to be place on an employee not exceed 1,800 lbs.  To achieve this personal fall arrest systems must be rigged so the potential free fall is never greater than 6 ft.
  • Avoid working above the anchorage point to avoid increased free fall distance and avoid slack line.
  • Avoid working where your line may cross or tangle with that of other workers or objects.
  • Do not allow lifeline to pass under arms or between legs.
  • Never clamp, knot, or prevent the lifeline from retracting or being taut.
  • Do not lengthen Self Retracting Lifeline by connecting a lanyard or other component without consulting the manufacture.

Swing Falls

Swing falls occur when the anchorage point is not directly above the point where a fall occurs.  The force of striking an object in a swing fall may cause serious injury.  In a swing fall, the total vertical fall distance will be greater than if the user had fallen directly below the anchorage point, thus increasing the total free fall distance and the area required to safely arrest the user.  The self-retracting lifeline will activate regardless of its orientation relative to the user.  The recommended work zone represents the typical acceptable work area for most application.  Review you specific application to determine what the appropriate work zone should be.  Minimize swing falls by working as directly below the anchorage point as possible.  Never permit a swing fall if injury could occur.  If a swing fall situation exists in you application contact the manufacture before proceeding.

Fall Clearance

Ensure adequate clearance exists in your fall path to prevent striking an object.  A minimum of 6 feet from the working level to the lower level or nearest obstruction is recommended.

Sharp Edges

Avoid working where the lifeline will be in contact with or abrade against unprotected sharp edges.  Provide protection for the lifeline when possible.


A rescue plan and ability to implement a rescue shall be in place before an employee uses a personal fall arrest system.


Double locking snap hooks and carabineers should never be connected:

  • To a D-ring to which another connector is attached.
  • In a manner that would result in a load on the gate.
  • In a false engagement, where features that protrude form the snap hook or carabineer catch on the anchor and without visual confirmation seems to be fully engaged to the anchor point.
  • To each other.
  • Directly to webbing or rope lanyard or tie back, unless the manufacture states it can be used for this application.
  • To any object which is shaped or dimensioned such that the snap hook or carabineer will not close and lock, or that roll out could occur.

Aerial Lifts – Part 1

Approximately 26 construction workers die annually from the improper use of aerial lifts, and many more are injured.  In the past year, there have been two fatalities from aerial lifts in our region, one of which was a Local 18 Insulator.  The main causes of injuries from aerial lifts are electrocutions, falls, tip-overs, caught between and struck by.  It is imperative that employees abide by the following safety rules when using aerial lifts to prevent being injured and ensure they are able to return home at the end of each day safe and sound.

  • These machines are not electrically insulated and will not provide protection from contact with or proximity to electrical current.  Maintain a clearance of at least 10 ft. between any part of the machine and its occupants, their tools, and their equipment from any electrical line or apparatus carrying up to 50,000 volts.  One foot additional clearance is required for every additional 30,000 volts or less.  Allow for machine movement and electrical line swaying or sagging.
  • Occupants must wear a full body harness with a lanyard attached to an authorized anchor point.  Guardrails are not approved anchor points.  Before operating the machine, make sure all gates and chains are closed and fastened in their proper position.
  • Maintain firm footing on the platform at all times.  Do not use ladder, boxes, steps, planks, guardrails or similar items to provide additional reach.
  • Do not raise the platform or drive the machine with the boom extended or raised unless on a firm, level and smooth surface.  Never exceed the allowable side slope or grade while driving.  Do not use on moving surface or vehicle.
  • Do not exceed the maximum platform capacity.  Distribute loads evenly on platform floor.  See model operation manual for actual capacity rating.  Do not push or pull any object with the boom.  Never attempt to use the machine as a crane or attach overhanging loads.  Do not tie off machines to any adjacent structure.
  • Inspect work area for clearances overhead, on sides and bottom of platform and lift base when lifting or lowering platform and driving.  During operation, keep all body parts inside platform guardrails.
  • Keep non-operating personnel at least 6 ft. away from the machine during all driving and swing operations.
  • When driving, always position boom over rear axle in line with the direction of travel.  Remember, if boom is over the front axle, steer and drive functions will be reversed.
  • Use extreme caution when entering and exiting the lift.  Face the machine and use three points of contact.  Always exit through the designated anchor point.  Do not climb over guardrails.
  • Keep the base of the lift at least 2 ft. from holes, bumps, drop offs, obstructions, debris and other potential hazards on the floor or surface.
  • Do not operate the machine in strong or gusty winds, JLG states not to operate in wind above 28 MPH.
  • Do not increase the surface area of the platform or the load.  Increase of the area exposed to the wind will decrease stability.
  • Only two employees are allowed in a lift at one time.  Only one person may operate the machine at a time.
  • Use the boom functions, not the drive function, to position the platform close to obstacles.
  • Be aware of stopping distances while driving or maneuvering.  Do not operate quickly in restricted or tight areas or when operating in reverse.  Use extreme caution at all times to prevent obstacles from striking or interfering with operating controls and persons in the platform.
  • Use a spotter when driving in areas where vision is obstructed.  Always warn personnel not to work, stand or walk under a raised boom or platform.  Barricades may be required to achieve this.
  • Limit travel speed according to conditions of ground surface, congestion, visibility, slope, location of personnel, and other factors which may cause collision or injury to personnel.
  • Do not alter or disable machine components that in any way affect safety or stability.
  • Always inspect and document a lift inspection before work begins.  If lift is not working properly, do not use, red tag and inform your supervisor.

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