Shannahan Crane & Hoist

How Should You Inspect Your Fall Arrest Safety System?

Each year, there are 37.3 million falls globally that are severe enough to warrant medical attention. Are your workers safe from falls?

Have you inspected your fall arrest safety system lately? If not, do you know how to properly inspect it to ensure your employees are safe?

Keep reading to learn the steps for inspecting your safety system and learn the warning signs that you need new equipment before something serious happens.

Which Equipment Should You Inspect?

First, let’s take a look at what tools you should inspect. These tools connect your employees to the fall arrest device. Not every one of these tools may be a part of your system, but you should have an anchor point, harness, and line connect to a hoist or SRL at a minimum.

Steps for Inspecting Your Safety System

Before each use, you should conduct a safety inspection. You should also inspect all equipment annually. Here are the steps to follow before each use.

1. Examine Metal Components

Take a look at all your metal components, including hooks and D-rings. They should all be intact and not have any wear, sharp edges, rust, corrosion, or cracks.

Sharp points could damage other parts of your fall arrest system, so you should discard any metal parts that have any issues.

2. Carabiner Inspection 

Don’t overlook your connecter that could save lives. Check for the same deformities as your other metal components, such as cracks, rust, and corrosion.

You can clean surface rust with baking soda, water, and steel wool. However, if the rust is deep, you need to replace your carabiner.

Double-check that your self-locking mechanism is working properly. If it doesn’t lock, this is one of the big warning signs that it is time to replace it.

3. Check the Ropes

Now, it’s time to look at your cords and ropes. They should not have frayed edges, cut portions, or loose strands. If you notice broken strands, get rid of this rope immediately. 

You can prevent issues with ropes by only using these fall arrest ropes for fall protection and not use for hoisting or lifting tools, cargo, or other loads.

Nylon or other twisted ropes may also get some kinks. To prevent this problem, straighten the rope after you use and store it flat.

As long as the rope does not have broken parts or damaged strands, you can still use it.

4. Check the Webbing and Stitching in the Safety Harness

When inspecting harnesses, you should examine the stitching that connects and holds the harness together. You should replace the hardness if you see broken strands, loose stitches, tufts, or burned areas.

Look at the webbing to see any signs of wear by holding the device with your hands about six to eight inches apart. You should also bend it over into a U-shape and also look for loose threads or wear. Examine all stitching and the entire length of webbing on this device. 

Don’t forget to check the breakaway jacket for tears, stretch marks, broken stitches, or cuts.

5. Inspect Personal Fall Arrest System for Damage After a Fall

If for some reason, your safety system stopped a fall or sustained any type of load, make sure you give a thorough inspection, preferably by a qualified expert. The impact of the fall may have damaged the system and you may not be able to use it in the future.

6. Discard or Repair Damaged Parts or Safety Equipment

Don’t try to save time and money by reusing safety equipment that has any signs of damage. You should properly repair or discard this equipment to eliminate the risk of injury. 

You also want to maintain OSHA compliance. During an OSHA audit, you could get fined if it is not properly maintained, even if you don’t use it.

7. Consider a Professional Inspection

You should consider an annual inspection by a professional. This expert is trained and knows exactly what to look for. It’s more than just compliance; you want a safe work environment for your employees.

Preventative Maintenance for Personal Fall Protection Equipment

You should also perform preventative maintenance. You can prevent damage by storing and using the lanyards, safety harnesses, and other fall protection equipment by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t store in extreme temperatures, and choose dry areas so moisture does not damage your equipment.

By inspecting before each use and also having an annual inspection by a trained professional, you can find any wear before it becomes a problem.

Makes sure you follow the maker’s suggestion lifetime frame. If the equipment is old, you may want to replace it for added safety precautions, even without signs of wear.

Inspection Frequency 

OSHA requires an inspection at least once a year and also a visual inspection before each use. ANSI has higher standards and recommends a thorough inspection every six months.

Depending on how often you use this equipment, you may want to have a set time every morning and assign someone to this task. This way, it doesn’t get overlooked if other employees are in a rush. 

Why Pay a Third-Party Company to Inspect?

Why should you pay a third party for inspections? First, their inspectors are certified to perform this job and go through training to know what to look for. 

They are also a neutral party that is solely focused on the inspection and finding solutions. They will complete the service promptly to make sure your equipment is safe and compliant. 

You can also have your services bundled for other inspections like rigging, overhead cranes, and more to save money. They will also help you manage your inspection schedule and retain your records so you can show them for compliance.

Looking for More Insight?

Follow these steps to inspect your fall arrest safety system. You should also hire a professional to inspect all your gear at least once a year to ensure your equipment is in top shape. If you are unsure about a piece of equipment, it’s always best to replace it.

At Shannahan Crane & Hoist, we are here to help you solve your problems because we know your employees’ safety is important to you.

We perform inspections, repair, training, and more. Contact us today for a free consultation. We can also help you with a custom fall security system to fit the needs of your business.

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