Due to the efforts of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are more safety measures in place within the construction and related businesses. The three-step process devised by OSHA is plan, provide, and train. OSHA’s fall protection courses, rigging courses and relevant certifications need to be completed in order to work on specific types of sites and with specific types of equipment, such as lifting gear.
Fall Arrest Systems
There are two types of fall arrest systems being implemented. The first is a general fall arrest system such as a net; the second system is a lifeline, which is a personal fall arrest system.
The fall or arrest distance, according to OSHA’s federal mandates, is six feet. There are rarely exceptions to this rule. While in training, participants learn how to implement important fall safety measures when working at different heights:
- General industry: four feet
- Shipyards: five feet
- Construction industry: six feet
- Longshoring operations: eight feet
If there are temporary floors without scaffolding, and the fall distance is more than 25 feet, then safety nets must be used. When testing fall arrest systems, OSHA recommends a test weight of 300 pounds; this weight can vary five pounds, plus or minus.
Cargo Lifting Equipment and Sling Use
There are a large number of sling types with one-to-four legs. When testing the sling’s load limit, socket and clip fittings are used on the ropes. These fittings need to bear 75% to 100% of the rope’s breaking load. When using an anchorage, it must support 5,000 pounds for an individual or a single tie-off point.
In order to ensure that lifting gear equipment meets safety standards it needs to be inspected at different intervals. For normal service use, inspection should be on an annual basis, and for severe service use, it should be inspected on a monthly or quarterly basis.
If metallic-core wire rope slings are being used, it’s important to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding safety issues at various temperatures. More specifically, be sure to follow the specific manufacturer guidelines when these slings are used at temperatures above 400 degrees Fahrenheit or below minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.