Leading Edge Self-Retracting Lifelines: Calculating Fall Protection Clearance Distances
- Scott Wenholz (U.S. Department of Energy SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory) | Thomas V. Rizzi (U.S. Department of Energy SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- December 2016
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 43 - 47
- 2016. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 30 since 2007
- Show more detail
- Miscalculating required fall clearance distances contributes to fatal falls in construction. The issue is further complicated when using leading edge self-retracting lifelines (SRL-LE) in situations in which the anchorage point is located below a worker’s dorsal D-ring.
- The problem stems from unclear or misleading equipment documentation, as well as training programs and literature that inadequately address the issue. As a result, many authorized, competent and qualified fall protection persons may not fully understand the equipment limitations or how to properly calculate clearance distance when incorporating an SRL-LE.
- This article highlights information that may be missing from equipment manuals and provides a more accurate method for calculating clearance distances when using SRL-LEs anchored below the dorsal D-ring.
Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in construction, according to OSHA, accounting for approximately one-third of all industry fatalities. In 2014, falls caused 359 of the 899 total deaths in construction (39.9%) and are the third-leading cause of fatalities in general industry behind transportation and workplace violence, respectively (OSHA, 2016).
The miscalculation of required fall clearance distances is one factor contributing to these fatalities. This issue is further complicated when using leading edge self-retracting lifelines (SRL-LE) in situations in which the anchorage point is located below a worker’s dorsal D-ring. Part of the problem stems from the SRL-LE information provided by the manufacturers; manuals can be unclear or misleading because typically only the maximum deceleration distance for overhead installations is listed. Additionally, most fall protection training programs do not adequately address SRL-LE applications, and existing published literature does not discuss this issue. Thus, many fall protection authorized, competent and qualified persons who use and evaluate SRL-LEs may not fully understand the capabilities and limitations of this equipment or how to properly calculate the necessary clearance distance.
This article highlights information that may be missing in SRL-LE manuals and provides a more accurate method for calculating fall protection clearance distances when using an SRL-LE anchored below the dorsal D-ring. This method becomes particularly important when the working surface is less than 18 ft from the next level or where an obstruction exists.
|File Size||670 KB||Number of Pages||5|