Fall protection equipment cannot be purchased while maintaining a one-size-fits-all approach. In the construction industry, for example, the equipment might change with the changes in the anchorage points, as the work progresses.
Jason Wible Frenchcreek mentions that understanding how every component of a personal fall arrest system fits into the essentials of fall protection can go a long way in enabling safety directors to specify equipment appropriate for the task.
Jason Wible Frenchcreek provides a brief insight on using anchors for fall protection
An anchor is an extremely vital part of any fall protection system. It is basically a device purposefully manufactured and installed to connect to and support a fall protection system. As a worker uses a fall protection system, they ideally would connect their lanyard or lifeline to an anchor. Anchorage implies a secure connection point for a fall protection system.
Anchors should be chosen properly based on the type of work, and installed in the correct manner. They are a part of a fall protection system designed to prevent a person from hitting the ground if there is a fall from a height. There are multiple types of anchors available today, depending on the type of installation, building structure and type, industry, job, and so on.
The basic types of anchor systems for fall protection include:
- Permanent anchors: Such anchors are designed as per the particular design and load parameters. They are installed permanently for fall protection as an important part of a building or structure, such as roof anchors used on high-rise buildings.
- Temporary or moveable anchors: Such anchors are designed to be connected to a structure while using very installation instructions. Examples of such anchors include wire rope slings, synthetic webbing slings, nail-on anchors used by roofers, beam clamps, and so on.
Jason Wible Frenchcreek mentions that in certain cases, improvised anchors should be considered. These anchors are not manufactured based on any specific standards. Rather, they might include the use of a beam or other structures. A professional engineer or some other competent individual must verify these anchors as having the proper capacity to serve as anchor points. It is important to not solely depend on tugging or pulling on the anchor as a test to see if it will hold when evaluating an improvised anchor. After all, as a person falls, they do exert a much larger force. Ideally, one must select an anchor capable of supporting the weight of a mid-sized car. The actual strength of an anchor is dependent on the design, condition, orientation relative to the direction of loading, connection to the supporting structure, as well as the adequacy of the structure to resist the imposed loading.
The load applied to the anchor relies on the fall protection system used, like fall restraint versus fall arrest systems. The anchor of a temporary fall restraint system, for instance, should be designed to hold a load in every direction of at least 800 lbs or four times the weight of the worker to be connected to the system.