tieoffWorker safety should be given priority status in any project that involves working at or from considerable heights, for example on a transformer. Even simple slip and fall accidents can assume drastic proportions when the worker is engaged in carrying out repairs or installations a good distance from the ground. When the work is being done at high risk locations like transformers, there is a dual risk of electrical shock causing a fall which results in injuries. Irrespective of whether the worker impacts with the ground or with other objects during the fall, the injuries sustained can be really severe.

OSHA takes a serious view of situations where workers are allowed to work at heights over 10 feet without adequate fall protection anchor systems. Recently, OSHA officials have levied a fine of over $135,000 against a construction company that had workers on a house project, engaged in work at a height without fall protection.

The need to address more electric shock risk

The first risk that comes to mind when repairs or other work needs to be done atop a transformer is that of electric shock. However, it is equally important to think about the height at which the work needs to be done. Investing in the right fall arrest equipment can potentially save lives, prevent or minimize injuries and help the workers go about their job with greater freedom and confidence.

Providing the right kind of fall protection anchor systems indicates that you are a responsible employer, concerned for the safety of your employees. It’s a simple way to show your work force that they are a valuable asset to your business- knowledge that is sure to keep them motivated and happy about working for you.

The best fall arrest system for transformers

There are a number of different fall arrest anchors used in various environments but when it comes to transformers the one significant aspect to consider is that the protection system should be compact and lightweight enough to be transported to the top with ease. The Portable vacuum anchor fits the bill perfectly. OSHA complaint as it is, this anchor ensures that there is no risk of having fines imposed for not providing adequate fall protection to workers.

This fall arrest anchor is a self contained product that does not need and electrical connections to affix it firmly to the transformer surface. All it needs is a compressed air bottle and the anchor is fixed with no wires or lines presenting a ‘trip- over’ risk. Since it can mounted both vertically and horizontally, this anchor is useful irrespective of where the repair or other work needs to be carried out on the transformer. The rubber seals are made with EPDM, meaning that these fall protection anchors can be used in bad weather conditions with perfect safety. They affix onto the non- porous surface securely without causing damage to the former, making these a good choice for almost any situation where work is being carried out at a height.

fall protection plane aircraft

Workers in the aviation, oil and gas, transportation, utility and mining industries may not have much in common with one another but there is one challenge these hard working men and women share; the threat of serious injury or death from a fall.

Whether their work takes them to the top of a tanker truck or the wing of an aircraft, the outcome of a fall can be equally tragic if these workers aren’t properly protected.

Training and experience can help lessen the likelihood of an accident but the right fall protection system can almost completely eliminate the chance of a catastrophic fall.

OSHA Guidelines

OSHA has clear guidelines when it comes to protecting employees who work on any type of elevated surface. These rules can mandate a variety of fall protection systems depending on the industry.

Guardrails, anchors, and horizontal lifelines are just some of the systems employed to keep workers safe as they complete daily tasks and routine maintenance at heights of greater than four feet or, in the case of the construction industry, six feet.

The type of system depends on the industry and the application. For employees who are required to load, unload bulk cargo or perform maintenance on rail cars, aircraft, and trucks, overhead fall protection is the choice for providing flexibility in movement and safe access.

Overhead Systems

overhead-fall-protectionOverhead fall protection systems are basically comprised of a harness which connects the worker to an overhead trolley system running along a rigid track or cable. The self-retracting line, which tethers the worker to the track above, allows them to complete their work efficiently while keeping them safe from the potentially tragic consequences of a fall.

Many varieties of systems are available to meet the various needs of multiple applications, but the two basic types of overhead fall protection systems are free standing and building mounted.

Free Standing Overhead Fall Protection Systems

permanent_freestanding_1_6Free standing overhead fall protection systems are most frequently found outdoors in shipyards, loading area, train yards, drop sites, and airports. Since these systems are exposed to the elements year round, they must be durable and dependable.

Free-standing systems are typically available in special non-corrosive finishes which allow them to stand up to rain, snow and ice. There are a number of variations on this system which allow it to be customized for almost any application.

The span of these systems offers safety without compromising maneuverability, allowing the worker to travel easily across the work zone in comfort and peace of mind.

Building Mounted Overhead Fall Protection Systems

building_mounted_1_0For indoor applications, where floor space is precious, a building mounted system works best.

By attaching a fall protection system to the structure itself, an operation can better ensure the safety of workers without sacrificing much room in the building. Just like the freestanding model, workers are able to move with confidence while performing maintenance and other routine tasks on aircraft, trucks, and buses.

It is vital that the system is properly maintained and that workers are correctly trained in it’s proper usage. Whether you choose a cable horizontal lifeline or a rigid rail fall system for your indoor applications, you can rest assured your people will be fully protected in the event of a fall when the system is designed by a qualified fall protection professional.

Peter KaviaBy Peter Kavia
CAI Safety Systems
Peter has been a safety expert for almost 20 years and is certified as a Qualified Fall Protection expert. He currently holds the title of Director of Operations for CAI Safety Systems, a custom turnkey fall protection company in Southern California.

 

Warning_Line_System

When you encounter warning lines it is important to remember that these are meant to warn employees and the public alike from hazards, particularly falls from elevated surfaces.

Warning lines cannot be used to prevent or stop falls unlike guardrails, safety gates, anchor points or horizontal lifelines.

The purpose of warning lines is simply to alert everyone that a fall hazard is present. In addition to roofs, warning lines can also be found on roadways and work sites. Ignoring them can result in injury or even death.

Wherever you encounter these visual reminders always recognize that the lines are there for your safety and act accordingly.

OSHA: Visual Identification

OSHA mandates that warning lines be present on elevated surfaces including roofs that will be accessed by employees, contractors, and the public in order to serve as a visual identification of working zones, leading edges and openings.

The warning line serves to alert you to potential dangers beyond the barriers. Additional fall protection equipment is required by OSHA to keep workers safe near leading edges and openings. These may include harnesses, safety rails, nets or other fall protection systems.

For the public, warning lines should suffice to keep them from straying into an area they aren’t authorized to enter. When it comes to construction safety. It’s not always about employee safety.

Warning Lines

warning-linesThe term warning line is a misnomer since a simple yellow line spray painted on the surface would not be sufficient to meet OSHA guidelines.

A warning line must include ropes, wires, or chains attached to free standing stanchions. Yellow safety flags must be present on the lines linking the stanchions at intervals of six feet or less.

Additionally, the stanchions must be able to withstand a tensile force of up to five hundred pounds.

Distance

Warning lines must be set up at the correct distance from the roof edge or opening in order to perform its intended function.

According to OSHA regulations, a warning line must be set up six feet from the edge and 15 feet from the edge if any mechanical equipment is in use. If these distances are not observed the area can’t be considered to be in compliance with federal guidelines. When you need to work closer to a leading edge then allowed by warning lines consider other forms of fall protection such as guardrails, anchors or horizontal lifelines.

The two most common types of warning lines are portable and permanent.

Portable Warning Lines

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 4.59.01 PMPortable warning lines are lighter weight and are more easily torn down. This allows them to be moved as needed, which gives these warning lines an advantage in flexibility over permanent lines.

These types of warning lines are best utilized to designate temporary work areas rather than being used as a more permanent reminder of the potential for injury or even death from a fall.

Permanent Warning Lines

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 5.01.01 PMPermanent warning lines aren’t actually fixed to the elevated surface either but the heavier stanchions and bases make them less convenient to move than portable units.

Meant to serve as a more durable visual reminder of leading edges and openings, these systems are typically left on roofs that are accessible to the public as well as workers.

Both portable and permanent warning lines come in a safety yellow finish, per OSHA regulations, to enhance visibility.

Warning Lines Alert “Everyone”

Warning lines are designed to protect everyone from falls and other hazards within a designated work area by providing a warning that a hazard is present, not just workers.

Everyone from mall patrons to motorists will encounter warning lines at some point. These systems only work when they are utilized properly and when workers and the public recognize that warning lines must be heeded at all times.

Peter KaviaBy Peter Kavia
CAI Safety Systems
Peter has been a safety expert for almost 20 years and is certified as a Qualified Fall Protection expert. He currently holds the title of Director of Operations for CAI Safety Systems, a custom turnkey fall protection company in Southern California.