Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatal injuries in the workplace accounting for over 35% of all workplace deaths. While these injuries are the most common, the important thing to remember is that all falls are preventable. One of the most commonly used systems to prevent falls is the Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS). A PFAS is a system that is used to stop an employee during a fall from a working level. The system consists of three components: Anchor, Body Harness, and a Connector. This system must be able to:
The anchor of a PFAS is the component that attaches the connector to a fixed point and is meant to support the employee in case of a fall. Anchors are required to be completely independent of other support structures and be capable of supporting 5,000lbs per employee or maintain a safety factor of two. Anchors should always be installed per the manufacturer’s recommendation and by a qualified employee.
The full body harness is the component that wraps the employee and distributes the impact through the thighs and buttocks. The body harness is meant to be custom to each employee as the fit should be snug while still allowing movement. Body harnesses should be free of damage such as frayed edges/fibers and pulled stitching while buckles and d-rings should be free of distortion. Make sure your employees are trained properly on inspecting and wearing their harnesses prior to tying off.
Connectors in a PFAS are the components that connect the harness to the anchor and restrict the fall. Connectors can consist of:
When it comes to PFAS, each component can vary based on the height from the ground, type of job, and number of workers. Make sure you know which system will be best for you and your employees know how to inspect and properly use each system. In case of a fall, be sure to have a Rescue Plan in place to be able to assist and remove an employee quickly and safely from the fall height. To keep the conversation going, download the PFAS Toolbox Talk (TBT) or comment below.