Anchors for Fall Protection

Published: 06th February 2012
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Definition

“Anchor” means an engineered component for coupling a fall arrest or travel restraint system to an anchorage. Anchorage means a structure, or part of a structure, that is capable of safely withstanding any potential forces applied by a fall protection system. Typically temporary anchors can be anchor slings, girder grips, concrete grips, large snap hooks that adapt onto a structural member. Temporary implies that they are used for a short duration task.

Design Purpose

Temporary anchors will be used for construction type activities or work completed infrequently or once. As a general rule of thumb, the same criteria used to determine a permanent vs. temporary worksite for the purposes of fall protection could be used. (OHS Explanation Guide Part 9)

Limitations

1. Choose an anchor that is unquestionable strong, always inspect the integrity of the structure, ensure you select a anchor as per the FPP.

Uses

2. Most anchors will only be designed for one person.

Types

I. Beam grips are useful and convenient to attach to large I beam.
II. Fabric and cable wraps are a lightweight method to attach to the structure, and some allow either snap hook attachment or carabineer attachment.
III. The tie-back lanyard is convenient as it is a dual purpose lanyard/anchorage attachment.
IV. The beam trolley allows for an anchor point and horizontal access.
V. The D ring is a temporary or permanent reliable anchorage attachment.
VI. The girder grip is a lightweight anchor for iron workers assembling steel.

Compatibility

4. Ensure you know how to use the anchor connector, if it is used incorrectly, it could fail at much less than its rated strength.
5. Fabric anchors can be damaged or fail due to heat, chemicals and sharp edges. Metal anchor slings conduct electricity.

Fit as Appropriate
6. Your temporary/improvised anchor will adapt to the structure and the connector (SRL, Lanyard, Life Safety Rope and Rope Grab, etc. will connect to the anchor.

Hazards
7. Try to select an anchor directly above the work area. The potential for swing falls should be assessed and consider the risks to impacting the structure, swing falls can cause injury or death.
8. Use temporary fall protection anchors designed for the purpose, improvised slings, chains or cables can lead to connector failure. Ensure the connectors are compatible.
9. Select an anchor shoulder height or higher, no more than six feet of free fall is permissible unless specialized systems are used.
10. Do not place your anchor near rotating or moving machinery, you may be seriously or fatally injured if you become entangled. Do not use steel cable slings around electricity.
11. Anchor slings should have edge protection to protect sharp edges. Fabric slings can be cut by sharp edges and heat and chemicals. Cable slings can be weakened when they become kinked on a sharp edge.
12. Because of the wide variety of unique anchor slings (girder grips, concrete grips ensure you are using the device properly, improper use could result in failure much below the products rated strength.
13. You must ensure the structure is sufficiently strong (3600lbs/16kN). Never attach to light duty structures such as conduit, cable, piping, etc. As a general rule, never attached to process piping, however in some cases permission may be given, some companies may have a policy developed on this topic, ensure you know the policy. Ensure the piping is not hot if you are attaching to it.
14. If attaching to I Beams, ensure they are properly connected, and not part of the structure under construction.
15. Never attach to mobile equipment unless there is a proper lock out procedure on the equipment, and it is determined to be sufficiently strong. Use caution when attaching to stationary machinery, there may be entanglement hazards such as rotating shafts. Additionally you may damage the equipment and cause your anchor to fail in a fall. Only attach to mobile and stationary equipment/machinery with permission.

Engineering Temporary/Improvised Anchors
The case for engineering temporary anchors is in the instance when you are unsure if the structure will safely support a fall, an engineer can be consulted to provide an answer. An example would be an anchor that requires multiple tie backs to gain sufficient strength.

MISAFETY offers fall protection training near Edmonton, Alberta that covers these topics. Call or email us, 780 987 3465 or info@misafety.ca. Training costs $150+gst person.


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