Working at heights can be dangerous, but there are ways to mitigate the risks. One way is to use a fall arrester, which is a device that helps prevent a person from falling. But what jobs require the use of a fall arrester? Here are some examples.
What is a Fall Arrester?
A fall arrester is a device used to prevent a user from falling. There are two main types of fall arresters: body-harness type and work-positioning type. Body-harness type fall arresters are typically used in general industry, construction, and utility work, while work-positioning type fall arresters are used mainly in tree care operations. Body-harness type fall arresters must be attached to an anchorage point on a structure or suspended scaffold, and they are designed to stop a user from falling if he or she slips or trips.
The device consists of a webbing strap (or “harness”) that is worn around the user’s body, and a lanyard that attaches the harness to the anchorage point. The lanyard is typically made of webbing or steel cable, and it can be either adjustable or non-adjustable.
Work-positioning type fall arresters are not designed to stop a user from falling; rather, they allow the user to safely position himself or herself while working at heights. These devices consist of a webbing strap (or “harness”) that is worn around the user’s body, and a lanyard that attaches the harness to an anchor point on the structure. The lanyard is typically made of webbing or steel cable, and it can be either adjustable or non-adjustable.
What Jobs Require a Fall Arrester?
Many jobs require the use of a fall arrester, also known as a personal fall arrest system (PFAS). Some of the most common occupations that require PFAS include construction workers, roofers, tree trimmers, and window washers. In general, any job that involves working at heights or around hazards that could result in a fall should require the use of a fall arrester.
This could include working on scaffolding, ladders, or roofs. If there is any chance that a worker could fall and be seriously injured, a fall arrester should be used as a precautionary measure.
The Different Types of Fall Arresters
A fall arrester is an important piece of safety equipment that is designed to stop a person from falling. There are different types of fall arresters, each of which is designed for a specific type of job or work environment. Here are some of the most common types of fall arresters:
- Body harnesses: Body harnesses are the most common type of fall arrester. They are made from a webbing material that goes around the body, and they typically have straps that go over the shoulders and around the legs. Body harnesses distribute the force of a fall evenly around the body, and they can be used for a variety of different jobs.
- Anchors: Anchors are fall arresters that are designed to be attached to a solid object, such as a wall or column. They typically have a strap or rope that runs from the anchor to the body harness, and they are used in situations where there is no other object that the fall arrestor can be attached.
- Lanyards: Lanyards are shorter straps or ropes that connect the body harness to the anchor point. They are typically made from webbing or nylon, and they can be either fixed or adjustable in length. Lanyards are sometimes used in place of anchors, but they are not as secure.
- Retractable lanyards: Retractable lanyards are lanyards that automatically retract into a housing unit when they are not being used. This keeps them from getting tangled or caught on objects, and it makes them much easier to use than traditional lanyards. Retractable lanyards are typically made from webbing or nylon, and they can be either fixed or adjustable in length.
How to Use a Fall Arrester
A fall arrester is a device used to prevent a person from falling. It is also sometimes called a fall arrestor or a fall protection device. Fall arresters are typically used in professions where there is a risk of falling, such as construction, roofing, and tree-trimming.
Body harnesses are worn around the torso and distribute the force of a fall evenly around the body. Lanyards are attached to a belt or other secure point on the body and connect to the harness with a carabiner. Fall arresters must be inspected regularly and replaced if damaged. Using a fall arrester correctly can help prevent injuries from falls.
Inspecting and Maintaining Your Fall Arrester
Your fall arrester is one of your most important pieces of safety equipment. Inspect it before each use, and inspect it regularly even if you don’t use it often. Look for cracks, nicks, or other damage. If you find any damage, don’t use the fall arrester. It might not work when you need it.
To inspect a webbing fall arrester, drape it over your arm and check the webbing for cuts or frayed areas. Also, look for kinks that might weaken the webbing or reduce its length. Once you’ve inspected the webbing, check the stitching that attaches it to the hardware. Make sure there are no loose or missing stitches. If you find any damage, don’t use the fall arrester.
Next, inspect all of the hardware—the D-ring, carabiner(s), snap hook(s), or another connecting device (s). Check for cracks, nicks, burrs, or other damage that could weaken the metal or prevent it from working properly. Also, make sure that all of the moving parts work freely and that there is no excessive wear.
To inspect a wire rope fall arrester (also called a track fall arrester), check all of the parts—the housing, cover plate assembly (if present), drive wheel assembly (if present), idler wheel assembly (if present), brake pad(s) (if present), and limit switch(es) (if present). In addition, check the wire rope for kinks, corrosion, fraying, or broken strands.
Also, check that there is no excessive wear on any of the parts and that all of the moving parts work freely. If you find any damage, don’t use the fall arrester
What to Do If Your Fall Arrester Fails
If you are working at height and your fall arrester fails, you should:
- Stop what you are doing and assess the situation.
- If you can, move to a safe area.
- Call for help.
- Wait for rescue.
- Do not try to climb down or up.
OSHA Regulations Regarding Fall Arresters
In order to be in compliance with OSHA standards, fall arresters must meet the following requirements:
- Anchorages must be capable of supporting 5,000 pounds per worker attached.
- The system must stop a worker within two feet of a fall, even when the worker is wearing all required safety gear.
- The system must remain intact and not break if it is supporting the weight of a worker who falls.
Per OSHA, a fall arrester is “a device intended for stopping the user from falling, and to be installed and used as part of a personal fall arrest system.” Jobs that require the use of fall arresters typically involve work at heights, where there is a danger of falling and injuring oneself.
This includes wearing appropriate footwear, using guardrails or other barriers when possible, avoiding sliding or tripping hazards, and being aware of weather conditions that could impact safety.
There are different types of fall arresters, and the type that is used will depend on the job and the environment. Examples of fall arresters include body harnesses, lanyards, deceleration devices, and vertical and horizontal lifelines. In addition to using a fall arrester, it is also important to follow other safety precautions when working at heights.
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