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Weekly Toolbox Talk: Fall Arrest Pre-Use Inspection

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ANSI and OSHA do not reference a maximum service life for synthetic fiber products. ANSI and OSHA standards require that the user remove the equipment from service if it has been subject to the forces of arresting a fall. ANSI A10.32-2012 does not specify a 5-year harness and lanyard service life. It states that "fall protection equipment shall be removed from service upon evidence of defects, damage or deterioration; once it has been subjected to impact loading; or upon expiration of the manufacturer’s specified service life, whichever comes first."

Pre-Use Inspection

Prior to use each worker must inspect the fall arrest equipment they will use for defects or damage. The first step in the inspection process should always be to check the inspection tag if an annual inspection was completed less than 12 months prior to the current date. If not the unit needs to be marked when the inspection is completed.

Harness Inspection

a. Labels
All labels must be present and fully legible with the last annual inspection less than 12 months prior to the current date documented on the inspection tag.

b. Stitching
If any stitches are pulled or broken, the harness must be removed from service. Closely inspect “critical stitching” which will be in a color that contrasts with the webbing

c. Webbing
Inspect for cuts, tears, stretching of fibers, fraying, raveling of edges, excessive wear or abrasion, chemical damage, burns, UV degradation, and weld splatter. Hold hands six to eight inches apart and flex webbing into a “U” shape to reveal frayed or broken fiber. The presence of hardened or discolored spots on the webbing indicates chemical or excessive heat exposure.

d. Connectors
Inspect all metal components including “O-rings”, “D-Rings” leg grommets, chest strap connecting hardware, and adjustment components. Look for cracks, heat damage, distortion, corrosion, and excessive wear.

e. Cleaning and Storage Instruction
Excessive accumulation of dirt, paint, or other foreign matter may prevent proper function of the harness, and in severe cases, weaken the webbing. Store the harness in a dry place, out of direct sunlight, preferably hanging by the rear D-ring.

LANYARD INSPECTION

a. Labels
All labels must be present and fully legible with the last annual inspection less than 12 months prior to the current date documented on the inspection tag.

b. Connectors/Snap hooks
Make sure connectors are operating properly. Snap hook must have a double locking mechanism that does not allow latch to open without releasing the first lock, and springs into locked position when released. Also inspect for cracks, distortion, or corrosion.

c. Shock Absorber
Inspect all areas of the cover. The cover should not be torn or damaged. Ensure the webbing content of the absorber has not been stretched, or Un-stitched in anyway. Remove from service if defective

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