• When safety equipment isn’t safe

    By Jim Poage, Safety Director, Formetco

    Most people know that all personal protective equipment should be inspected prior to use, but few people think about the limitations or increased danger in using the equipment incorrectly.  Using a standard full body harness with a shock absorbing lanyard is a great to prevent injuries from falls, but there are additional considerations that need to be worked through to make sure the equipment performs as expected during a fall.  One area is where the lanyard is connected.  Is it an engineered, authorized anchorage point that is designed and capable of holding a person during a fall event?  Is the anchorage point high enough to prevent the user from hitting a lower deck, or other area below them before the lanyard engages?

    Ladder safety devices are quickly becoming a requirement for fixed ladders, and the inspection and proper use of the systems are a necessity.  All equipment such as cable sleeves, chest lanyards, and the actual cable system have to be designed to work together.  An overall understanding of the system requirement and the interaction of all the parts is required to make sure the climber has the proper equipment and it will perform as expected.

    Hard hats need to be inspected and worn as designed to be worn.  Reversing the interior hat support so the shell can be reversed and worn backwards removes the safety brim from its front position and allows for a falling object to strike the wearer on the nose.  If the user feels the brim obstructs the overhead vision, a clear brim hat such as the AboveView from Bullard could be an option.

    The real key is to know the limitations of the safety equipment as well as how to use it properly.  If there is ever a doubt, contact the manufacturer or a local safety professional for more information.

    Jim will be teaching a safety class at the IBO meeting April 24-27, 2018 in Jacksonville and at the IBO meeting September 18-21, 2018 in Columbus. For more information contact Jim at 678.951.1132 or jimpoage@formetco.com

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