Did you know that a wire rope lanyard designed for fall arrest is not the same
as a wire rope sling that is designed for lifting?
When used as a fall arrest lanyard, wire rope by itself is unable to absorb any type of energy. Because there is no elasticity or stretch, this will subject a worker to a injury or even a potential amount of fatal arrest-force should they happen to fall while wearing it.
When wire rope is used as a connecting device, it is absolutely essential that a Personal Energy Absorber is used along with it. A PEA should actually be used with any lanyard or connecting device that allows for potential free fall, despite the fact that the webbing or rope of some lanyard types does actually absorb small amounts of energy.
Most jurisdictions, including Saskatchewan, prohibit fall
forces in excess of 8 kilonewtons. Therefore, employers are
legally required to ensure that a personal fall arrest system used by their
employees is set up in order to prevent arrest forces in excess of 1800 pounds.
The amount of force a human body can withstand has not
technically been verified by modern science. Less arrest force is generally easier on a person's body than more fall force. Additional information on this topic can be found here.
Wire rope slings should never be used as connecting devices in a Personal Fall Arrest System; it
will subject a falling worker to more fall force than a proper energy-absorbing lanyard would.
Northern Strands provides training on both the proper use of fall
arrest equipment and the proper use of rigging equipment. If you
would like more information one either of these programs, please contact us.
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The Term MAF, also known as Maximum Arrest Force, comes directly from Section 102 of The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996 under clause (c) which states that "An employer or contractor shall ensure that a personal fall arrest system required by these regulations...applies a peak fall-arrest force not greater than eight kilo-newtons to a worker..."
A kilo-newton is a force that is equal to approximately 225 lbs-force. Where the Saskatchewan fall-arrest legislation states Max Arrest Force is 8kN, this is equal to 1800 lbs-force. So how do we abide by this legislation and what does it mean?
In the Northern Strands Fall Protection course, they train that Personal Fall Arrest Systems should be a last resort, but S102(c) was put in place to make sure that the risk of injury from the fall-arrest equipment itself is reduced.
There are 3 principal ways we can make sure that we don't exceed the MAF:
1) Keep Free Fall to a minimum - use the shortest possible lanyard, anchor well overhead, and use retractables.
2) Minimize Weight - limit the number of tools that will be supported by the full-body harness.
3) Use the Most Distance possible to come to a stop.
This last point might be hard to imagine, but picture it like this: would you rather bring your vehicle to a stop using brakes over a distance of a block, or would you rather bring your vehicle to a stop against a brick wall? The energy of any moving object whether its a falling person or a moving vehicle has to be reduced gradually or there will be an excessive stopping (arresting) force put on the object.
These two controls are actually outranked by another. What about not performing the work at heights in the first place? Obviously this is not always a practical solution, but nonetheless its worth considering. Even trying to relocate certain job steps to the ground level is better and safer than performing 100% of the work at heights. Give us a call and we can help you out with some more proactive fall protection solutions.
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The Northern Strands Training Division is growing! With growth comes the need for additional health and safety trainers. Northern Strands has invited renowned trainer, Cassenna Parmeter to join our training team. We're excited to have Cassenna on our team. She is well known throughout the health and safety industry and brings a wealth of experience to the Northern Strands training team. Welcome aboard Cassenna!
Northern Strands has officially added 3 new health and safety courses, with more to be announced in the near future. The first three health and safety classes we've added are Advanced Fire Training, E.R.T. Industry Training and Medical First Responder Training. We also offer courses in First Aid & CPR, Suspended Access Equipment Training, Crosby Rigging, Fall Arrest, Wirelock Socketing and Tugger Safety.
Visit our website training page to learn more about our courses: http://www.northernstrands.com/training.aspx
Here are our top ten reasons to train with Northern Strands
- Proven strategic results
- Customized safety programs
- Reduce acccidents
- Experienced safety leaders
- reliable customer service
- Guaranteed safety motivation
- Production and distribution of all items
- Target specific safety topics
- Build employee morale
- Engage your workforce
Check out the PDF of our promotional training postcard: Training Postcard.pdf (986.06 kb)
Northern Strands is proudly Saskatoon, Saskatchewan owned and operated.