Proper Fall Protection Equipment: stay safe in confined spaces
We’ve given you tips for remaining safe in confined spaces and preventing injury—but how do you choose the best fall protection equipment to keep yourself and others safe? Read on and discover Hercules SLR’s tips for choosing the safest fall protection equipment for work in confined spaces.
Three Essential Components to Confined Space Fall Protection Equipment
When choosing the best fall protection equipment, you typically need an anchorage, body support and a connector. If entering a confined space vertically without a fixed ladder, you must have an anchor point that supports the required forces.
If entering horizontally, but with a vertical position, or you must retrieve someone or something (for example, on the side of a tank) you must have a side-entry system. This attaches to the access point with a bolt or clamp, and provides anchorage and a base for your winching mechanism.
When undertaking task-specific work, like entering a manhole, for example, tripods are the best option. They are easy to transport between locations, however, tripods only accommodate specific sized openings. If tripods aren’t enough, or more versatility is needed a davit arm, or post is another option to consider.
Davits are great for use at various types of worksites. Davits are a versatile choice as they can be fixed or portable. Some feature adjustable bases capable of hoisting workers over large openings, while others have fixed a “v” shaped adjacent to the opening.
Supporting body weight is an essential function of fall protection equipment—it’s important to consider comfort and durability when choosing appropriate fall protection equipment.
Have an employee working in a confined space for an extended period of time, or in various spots throughout the day? Consider investing in a high-quality body harness with built-in shoulder, back and leg padding with soft edging for maximum comfort.
Need durability above all? Consider a harness with a protective coating specifically designed to be easily cleaned and repel dirt, grease and grime.
Need to access a confined space infrequently? Consider a basic harness, an economical option for work in confined spaces during a short period of time.
Easy Retrieval is Key
As we mentioned in our previous article, easy retrieval from confined spaces is key. For work in confined spaces (particularly for an extended period of time) consider a specialty harness with D-rings on each shoulder strap. A Y-Lanyard connects the two D-rings to a winch line, which allows workers to be raised and lowered vertically.
Your winch, or winching mechanism will include a steel or synthetic line and will be your connector. Your line will have a crank, and will connect to a tripod or davit system in order to lower and raise the employee. Security is a major benefit of this fall protection equipment—it includes a braking system, so if the winch operator release the winch, the worker being raised and/or lowered won’t fall.
For ease of use and frequent raising and lowering, a power drive is an optional feature to consider in your winch—it still has manual capabilities, and can be used automatically as well.
Find information and the best fall protection equipment at Hercules SLR.
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