by Brianna Crandall — September 2, 2016 — In the world of fall protection, the amount of equipment available to prevent workers from being injured is as dizzying as the heights they climb to do their jobs, says the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).
Industry looks to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ASSE Z359.1 Fall Protection Code to help guide the use of fall protection to protect workers. Recognizing that the current 10-year standard was dated, the Z359 Committee that oversees the standard’s development recently created new sub-standards that address fall restraint systems, work positioning systems, rope access systems, fall arrest systems and rescue systems. The new standard was approved by ANSI on August 15, says ASSE.
Thomas Kramer, P.E., CSP, vice chair of the Z359 Committee, explained:
We wrote standards for each piece of equipment to make it much easier to use. We wanted to ensure it would be a guide to the whole Z359 Fall Protection Code by establishing requirements for the performance, design, marking, qualification, instruction, training, inspection, use and maintenance of this equipment.
The Fall Protection Code encompasses standards for personal fall protection systems that incorporate a full body harness, intended to protect the user against falls from height. The new standard provides guidance to systems that prevent a free fall over systems that arrest a free fall. That means the proper selection and use of service of connectors, full body harnesses, lanyards, energy absorbers, anchorage connectors, fall arresters, vertical lifelines and self-retracting lanyards comprising personal fall protection systems for users within the capacity range of 130-310 pounds.
We want to keep workers from falling as much as possible. We concluded that systems that kept workers suspended in the air once they fell resulted in other injuries we hope can be avoided.
The new standard will go into effect beginning in January 2017. For more information on the Z359.1 updates, visit the ASSE Web site.