Regular inspection and certification of height safety systems and PPE is not only a legal requirement but is essential. The primary role of a fall arrest system is to save your life in the event of a fall.
In height safety, we measure force in kilo newtons or kN. The average person falling 2m can produce over 1.5 tonne or 15kN of force. Therefore the forces exerted onto a system in the event of a fall can be extreme. The force generated during a fall is distributed through the fall arrest system as well as the person’s body. Forces this high will cause serious injury and have even been known to cause death.
There are three main parts to a fall arrest system:
1. The anchorage point
2. The connection – this is typically a rope or lanyard
3. The harness
Each of these parts plays a vital role in reducing the impact of a fall.
Regular inspection and testing of this equipment is essential to ensuring each part of the system is in good condition and able to perform correctly in the event of a fall. BS 7883 requires that all fall arrest systems must be certified by a competent person at least every 12 months.
A competent person is considered anyone who through training, education and experience is capable of assessing compliance. However, most manufacturers of systems require a person to be authorised by them in order to be considered competent to assess their systems.
To summarize, to inspect and certify a fall arrest system you must have:
Undergone training by the manufacturer
Sufficient experience within the industry
Current public liability and professional indemnity insurance for height safety
When certifying a system, the inspector is verifying four main points:
Has it been installed correctly?
Has the system been designed correctly?
Is the system fit for purpose?
Is it in good condition?
As part of the certification each anchor or system must have its own inspection tag stating when it is next due for inspection. There must also be a sign at the main entry point to the system which states:
Type of system
Rating/class of system
Date of installation
Who carried out the installation
Date of last certification
Fall protection systems are also required to have:
It is important to choose the right type of harness and attachment equipment for your fall protection equipment. All PPE must be inspected and certified by a competent person at least every 12 months.
If PPE is used in harsh conditions and often becomes wet and dirty during use it is vital that they are properly cleaned and dried before being stored away. Failure to do this could cause the webbing to quickly deteriorate and become unsafe.
It is a requirement that a shock absorber be used as part of the harness and attachment system. The shock absorber is designed to reduce the force of a fall. Each piece of PPE must have an inspection tag.
For more information on inspections and certifications please contact our office.