Fall Protection For Industrial Safety

Industrial safety is a top priority for Penn Coat Inc. and should always be considered in that manner. Some work spaces are located in dangerous areas. A rooftop is a place that needs to be accessed by people who are responsible for building maintenance. When people are working on a roof, they are at a height that could potentially injure or kill them if they fall. Because working at height is so hazardous, it’s important to take some level of precaution to provide a safer environment for people who need to work at height.  However, deciding how to protect people who work at height can be difficult. So, fall protection professionals who work with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) developed the Fall Hazard Hierarchy.

The ANSI Fall Hazard Hierarchy goes as follows:

1. Elimination or Substitution
2. Passive Fall Protection
3. Active Fall Restraint
4. Active Fall Arrest
5. Administrative Controls

Elimination or substitution means that employers should consider ways that they can avoid exposing the worker to the fall hazard (like having a machine perform the task at height). Passive fall protection consists of a barrier (like a guardrail) that prevents workers from accessing the dangerous area or getting close to an edge where they could fall. Active fall restraint involves restricting a person’s ability to access a fall hazard by wearing a full body harness and attaching a lifeline or rope to a single anchorage tie-off point. Active fall arrest is used when a worker is exposed to a fall hazard in their working location. As a result, the exposed worker needs to use a full body harness with an energy absorbing device that is connected to an anchorage point to stop a fall after an unintentional loss of balance. And finally, administrative controls involve things like warning lights, audible alarms, or other types of warning devices that alert an authorized person that they are accessing an area with a fall hazard.

When it comes to protecting people who are working on a roof, it’s often difficult to employ any of the concepts described in the first three levels of the hierarchy. As a result, active fall arrest is usually the best way to provide rooftop fall protection. There are many different anchorage devices that can be attached to a roof to provide active fall arrest. But, one of the best devices is the XS Impact Anchor from XSPlatforms.

The XS Impact Anchor arrests a fall by absorbing energy through a process that professional engineers refer to as deformation. The most familiar example of this principle is the crumple zones on a car. Because the anchorage bends with the shearing force of a fall, the energy of the fall is distributed across a longer period of time. By extending the amount of time that it takes to absorb the energy of the fall, the anchorage is able to reduce the force that is placed on a worker’s body and on the rooftop materials where the anchorage is attached. The equation that best describes this concept is Newton’s Second Law of Motion: F=(M)(A) {OR} Force = (Mass)(Acceleration)

In this application, the weight of the worker merges with the speed at which they have their fall arrested and that combination determines the amount of force that is applied to the worker’s body during the process of arresting their fall. Since the anchorage is designed to allow a slower fall rate, the slower deceleration will subsequently lower the forces involved with arresting the fall. Fall related injuries are not caused by the speed of the fall, they are caused by the speed you stop. And using an anchorage that reduces the deceleration speed will reduce the chances of a worker being injured during fall arrest.