Working at height is one of the most dangerous and hazardous job roles, and due to this, it leads to the most fatalities in the workplace in the UK. Implementing the correct fall protection equipment seriously reduces these risks and ensures your safety. However, if this equipment isn’t maintained correctly, it is ineffective and can be very dangerous.
In today’s blog, we’re looking into the importance of having the proper maintenance in place for your fall protection equipment. We will be exploring the legality of fall protection equipment and inspections and recertifications to be aware of. Additionally, we will look into how Altus Safety can assist you with maintaining your fall protection equipment.
Why is Maintaining Fall Protection Equipment Important?
Fall protection equipment is crucial when working from height because working in these conditions without being protected could be a matter of life and death. As mentioned, working at height leads to the most fatalities in the workplace in the UK, which is why having the proper equipment in place is vital.
On top of this, you must ensure that the correct maintenance is also in place for the following reasons:
- Specific laws and legislation require the proper fall protection equipment, including maintenance and regular inspections (we will discuss this in further detail below).
- Personal safety. As discussed, employee lives are at risk when working at height which is why the maintenance of your business’ equipment is so essential.
- Business success. Companies with the correct equipment, follow high industry standards, and comply with the law are more likely to obtain contracts and succeed.
Fall Protection Equipment and the Law
Once you have implemented your fall protection equipment, it is your responsibility as the company owner to check that they are legal before each use. This is due to a number of standards and legislations depending on which equipment is in use – let’s take a look.
- Working at Height Regulations. Competency (Regulation 5), Inspection of Work Equipment (Regulation 12), Duties of Persons at Work (Regulation 14), Requirements for Personal Fall Protection Systems (Schedule 5).
- Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations. Maintenance of workplace and equipment such as devices and systems (Regulation 5)
- Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations. Compatibility of personal protective equipment (Regulation 5), Maintenance and replacement of personal protective equipment (Regulation 7), Information, instruction, and proper training (Regulation 9).
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. Maintenance (Regulation 5), Inspection (Regulation 6), Information and Instructions (Regulation 8), Training (Regulation 9).
In addition to this, fall protection equipment is certified and issued with an EN number – awarded to each product by one of three European Standards Organisations. They certify the products’ suitability and are awarded after thorough and stringent safety tests. The EN numbers fall into one of several categories, including harnesses, arrest blocks, lanyards, connectors/rope/rope grabs, and anchorage devices. Ensure that you are only using products that have been issued with an EN number.
Fall Protection Equipment Inspections and Recertifications
As well as the regular checks before each use, it is the role of a competent person to perform a fall protection inspection and recertifications to comply with the law. There are four main questions that the inspector will ask when carrying out the checks:
- Has the fall protection equipment been installed correctly?
- Has the system been designed correctly?
- Is the system fit for purpose?
- Is the equipment in good condition?
As part of the inspection, each fall arrest system must be given an updated tag with the date of the recent review and the date of when the next one is due. Following this, a sign must be in place at the main entry point of the fall arrest system, which states the following:
- The type of system in place
- Rating and class of said system
- The date of installation
- The name of the person who carried out the installation
- The date of the last certification
Here at Altus Safety, we can help you carry out the inspections, so please get in touch with our team for more information.
We hope that this article has been helpful to you and you now know more about the importance of maintaining your fall protection equipment. We are leading suppliers of fall protection equipment such as fall arrest systems and edge protection systems, so please don’t hesitate to contact our team with any queries about our equipment or inspection services.