7 Common Misuses Of Fall Protection Equipment

common misuses of fall protection equipment

7 Common Misuses Of Fall Protection Equipment

Every worker has the right to return home safe each and every day. The most recent report conducted by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), showed that 251,508 Canadian’s accepted claims for lost time due to work-related injury or disease in just one year.

Did you know that approximately 18% of those time-loss injuries, or about 42,000 workers a year, are injured due to fall incidents alone? You can prevent falls and incidents like these by wearing proper fall protection equipment, and wearing it right.

If you’re working at a height exceeding 3 meters (10 feet) occupational health and safety laws generally require fall protection measures to be in place. You can check with your jurisdiction as requirements do vary, but in most cases fall protection measures such as fixed barriers, surface opening protections, control zones, fall or travel restraint systems, fall containment systems or fall arrest systems are required. You can learn more about some of these systems by reading our fall protection glossary.

But it’s not good enough just to throw on the required minimum fall protection equipment and call it a day – It’s important the equipment be used properly.

In this blog, we will be talking a bit about 7 common misuses of fall protection equipment, to serve as a reminder for things to look out for, but should be used in conjunction with proper training. The Hercules Training Academy offers an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses, including a course on fall protection!

1. Misuse of Rebar Snap Hooksfall protection repair snap hooks

Rebar hooks (also referred to as pelican hooks, large gates or form hooks) are frequently used pieces of equipment in the fall protection world because their large openings make them quick and easy to use. They also allow for connection to many objects, eliminating the need for additional anchorage connectors. However, not using an additional connector can be very dangerous in the wrong circumstances and rebar hooks are only approved for specific configurations so if you use them outside of those configurations, it can present a safety hazard to workers.

The best way to mitigate the misuse of rebar snap hooks is to ensure that the anchorage connector D-ring is larger than the snap hook to avoid side loading. Since this is difficult to achieve, oftentimes workers choose to use a small anchor strap instead with some workplaces not allowing the use of snap hooks all together!

2. Misuse of Lanyards

A common mistake made with lanyards is users wrapping them back upon themselves. Most fall arrest lanyards are not designed to wrap around a structure and hook onto themselves, but a worker may try to set it up in that way if no other anchorage point is available. This can cause equipment failure due to damaged to the lanyard material or improper gate loading. This problem can be solved with anchorage straps, which are designed to be wrapped back on themselves – providing the proper strength needed to be safe while also remaining accessible.

Furthermore, regardless of if a lanyard is designed for wrapping around beams, piping, ductwork, or around a guardrail, with time, the sawing action could damage it. This problem can be mitigated by using a beam clamp or beam straps as an anchorage connector.

3. Inappropriate Anchorage Connection or Strength

A fall protection system is only as effective as its anchorage. Always ensure the anchorage is strong enough to support the weight of the individual wearing it in the case of a fall. To be sure you can rely on your fall protection equipment, always test the strength of the connection after set up.

To be certain you have the right anchorage strength, only use certified anchorages and make sure there is always someone on the scene with the correct training to properly identify the appropriate anchorage to use for the circumstances of the job. Since the average weight of the individuals using the fall protection system will very, the anchorage system must be designed for the maximum weight of any potential users.

3m dbi-sala fall protection anchorages

4. Anchoring Below The Dorsal D-Ring

Another common misuse of fall protection systems is workers anchoring themselves to a point below their dorsal D-Ring (sometimes even below their feet). This increases the free fall weight and distance, sometimes beyond the equipment’s ability to arrest it. Pushing these limits can cause the lanyard or anchorage to fall, or can exceed the allowable force on the body, which can increase the likelihood of a serious injury.

The goal is always to minimize free-fall distances, so connecting to a point above the dorsal D-ring should be the choice if in any way possible. However, if there is no overhead structure to provide an anchorage point, the worker must use a free-fall lanyard that is approved for the greater free-fall distance and force.

5. Unproperly Adjusted Harnesses

For fall protection equipment to be used correctly and effectively, workers must be wearing their equipment correctly. Most fall protection harnesses are designed with adjustable leg, waist, shoulder, and chest straps, which all must be sized to the user. A fall protection system is no good if you can’t stay in it, which is exactly the risk presented if the harness is not tightened properly to the user’s body. As you can imagine, being ejected from a harness mid-fall can lead to serious injury.

Here’s what to look for to ensure a harness is fitted correctly:

  • The dorsal D-ring sits between the worker’s shoulders blades – If it’s adjusted too high, the metal hardware could cause injury to the user’s head and if it’s adjusted too low, the user can be left hanging in a poor position with an increased risk of suspension trauma.
  • The chest strap should lie across the user’s chest at the base of the sternum – If it’s too high on the user’s chest, it can cause a choking hazard in the case of a fall by putting pressure on the user’s neck.
  • Shoulder straps cannot be pulled off of the user’s shoulders or outward.
  • Sub-pelvic straps are positioned under the buttocks.
  • Leg straps are tightened to a point where four fingers can fit between the strap and the user’s leg, but cannot pull away from the leg.
  • General observation of harness fit – Looking for things like twisted straps or asymmetrical leg straps. 

3m dbi-sala fall protection harness specs and info

6. Using Damaged or Recalled Equipment

Everything from UV exposer, corrosion, wear and tear and everything in between can impact the effectiveness of your fall protection equipment. You can avoid UV and corrosion damage by storing your equipment properly when not in use, but some amount of wear and tear cannot be avoided if you’re actually using your equipment, which is what it’s made for after all! Because of this, all users should be trained on what to look for when inspecting equipment to ensure that it is in proper working order to operate safely.

Steps to ensure your equipment is always in safe working condition:

  1. Have your equipment inspected on at least an annual basis – Another thing Hercules SLR’s experienced and LEEA certified team can take off your hands! 
  2. Register your equipment so you are always notified of product recalls or advisories.
  3. Stay current on advisories and advances in technology.
  4. Store equipment in an environment that is as protected as possible.

7. Confusing Twin-Leg Energy-Absorbing & Self-Retracting Devices

Although these two devices sometimes look and function similar, a common mistake people make is thinking twin-leg energy absorbing & self-retracting lifeline devices are the same or interchangeable. However, since they are designed and tested for specific conditions, it’s important they are used for those appropriate applications.

The self-retracting lifeline (SRL) vs. energy-absorbing lifeline (EAL) is a topic of lively debate among fall protection engineers because both devices have their benefits but the general consensus is that an SRL is preferable in an industrial environment where an overhead horizontal system is (or can be) installed and an EAL is preferable in a construction environment where workers typically do not have access to an overhead anchorage point.

3m dbi-sala fall protecton srl hercules slr


Click this image to view the full Fall Protection course overview.

The Hercules Training Academy is open with brand new classrooms and specialized training equipment enable us to provide an even higher quality of service than ever before when it comes to safety training. Through our Hercules Training Academy, we offer an extensive suite of high-quality safety training and certification courses. Whether you’re looking for initial or refresher training, we provide practical, hands-on courses designed to exceed the minimum safety requirements.

In our Fall Protection course, you will learn: regulations, hazard assessments, pre-use inspections, calculating fall distance, donning a harness, selecting fall protection equipment, fall protection plans and procedures, selecting anchor points, ladders, elevated work platforms, suspension trauma

We can customize courses to fit your workplace’s specific needs. We are always willing to design a course (or multiple courses) specifically for you!


LOOKING TO BRING YOUR WORKPLACE SAFETY TO THE NEXT LEVEL? CALL US—HERCULES SLR OFFERS AN EXTENSIVE SUITE OF HIGH-QUALITY SAFETY TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION COURSES.

 

3M Stop Use & Recall Notice – Immediate Action Required

Stop Use & Recall Notice IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED

 

3M Fall Protection announces an immediate stop use and product recall of the 3M™ DBI-SALA® Nano-Lok™ edge and Wrap Back Twin-Leg Self Retracting Lifelines. The twin-leg Nano-Lok edge is part of a personal fall protection system and connects two self-retracting lifelines/devices (SRL’s/SRD’s) directly under the dorsal d-ring of a worker’s harness. It is intended to be anchored at foot-level, and is designed for sharp edge applications. The twin-leg Wrap Back Nano-Lok is intended for wrapping around an anchor and incorporates a similar energy absorber. 3M has determined that in the event of a fall and under certain conditions, the energy absorber may not properly deploy which could expose the worker to serious injury or death. Although there have been no reports of accidents or injuries associated with this issue, these products must be removed from service immediately.

To address this situation in the interests of worker safety, 3M is launching a global stop use of the Nano-Lok edge and Wrap Back Twin-Leg SRL units and is recalling all these units to be repaired or replaced as soon as a solution is identified, tested and certified. In the interim, and until a repair or replacement is available, end-users may elect to receive cash for their returned units as described below. This stop use and recall affects all versions of the Nano-Lok edge and Wrap Back Twin-Leg SRL’s since first introduced in 2013.

Users/Owners: Immediately stop using your Nano-Lok edge and Wrap Back Twin-Leg SRL and take these units out of service. Next, go to www. NanoLokEdgeRecall.com and follow the instructions on how to return your unit.

As soon as a product solution is available, 3M will either repair or replace your unit and return it to you at 3M’s expense. Alternatively, and until a product solution is available, you can elect to receive cash in the amount of $200 USD when you return your unit. As an interim solution for applications requiring 100% continuous connection in leading edge applications with sufficient fall clearance, 3M recommends the DBI-SALA® EZ-Stop Leading Edge 100% Tie-Off Cable Shock Absorbing Lanyard. You can also contact 3M Customer Service at 1-833-998-2243 or 3mcafpserviceaction@mmm.com for additional recall information.

You can also contact your local Hercules SLR should you have any additional questions or queries regarding this recall.

3M remains committed to providing quality products and services to our customers. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this situation may cause to you or your customers. We appreciate your continued support of 3M Fall Protection products and services.

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Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events

Inspection Notice: MSA PFL/SRL Rivets—2.4m & 2.7 m V-Edge™ Cable PFL , 6m V-Edge™ Cable SRL

industrial workers wearing msa safety ppe

Inspection Notice: MSA PFL/SRL Rivets  

MSA is issuing an Inspection Notice to inform you they have identified isolated instances of unflared top eyelet rivets in MSA V-Edge 2.4m Twin Leg Cable PFL. MSA has not received any reports of injuries associated with this condition.  However, we are requesting that you perform the inspection outlined in this notice.

An unflared top eyelet rivet may eventually begin to dislodge from the PFL. If the rivet begins to dislodge from the PFL, the PFL may not arrest a fall.

In a review of all riveted connections on PFLs and SRLs, MSA has identified that the field inspections in the following table are to be performed.

Product (See Appendix A* for Part Number list)

Rivet(s) to Inspect (See “Inspection Instructions” section for inspection details)Number of Rivets per PFL/SRL Assembly (See Appendix B* for Figures showing Rivet Locations) 
2.4m V-Edge Twin Leg Cable PFLTop Eyelet2 
2.4m V-Edge Twin Leg Cable PFLCasing8 
2.4m V-Edge Single Leg Cable PFLTop Eyelet1 
2.4m V-Edge Single Leg Cable PFLCasing4 
2.7m V-Edge Twin Leg Cable PFLTop Eyelet2 
2.7m V-Edge Twin Leg Cable PFLCasing8 
2.7m V-Edge Single Leg Cable PFLTop Eyelet1 
2.7m V-Edge Single Leg Cable PFLCasing4 
6m V-Edge Cable SRLShock Pack2 

* Appendix A and Appendix B can be found in the attached Inspection Notice.

MSA is committed to safety and quality and has implemented increased inspection and quality controls to prevent this condition in the future.

MSA is advising all customers to inspect the rivets listed in Table 1.  Inspect per the Instructions in this Notice.  Remove from service any PFL or SRL that does not pass the inspection.

Inspection Instructions

Perform the following inspection to determine whether your PFL or SRL needs to be taken out of service.  Please reference Appendix B in the attached Inspection Notice for assistance in locating each type of rivet.

Top Eyelet Rivets

  1. Place the PFL on a flat surface so that there is not a load on the top eyelet rivet.
  2. Attempt to remove the top eyelet rivet from the eyelet by pushing the rivet.
  3. Attempt to remove the top eyelet rivet from the eyelet by pulling on the rivet.

Casing Rivets

  1. Hold or suspend the PFL such it does not make contact with a surface that would prevent movement of the casing rivets.
  2. Attempt to remove the casing rivets by pushing the rivets.
  3. Attempt to remove the casing rivets by pulling on the rivets.

Shock Pack Rivets

  1. Hold the SRL shock pack such that the shock pack does not make contact with a surface that would prevent movement of the shock pack rivets.
  2. Attempt to remove the shock pack rivets by pushing the rivets.
  3. Attempt to remove the shock pack rivets by pulling on the rivets.

Some small back and forth movement of the rivets is to be expected while pushing or pulling. If any of the rivets are able to be removed from the PFL/SRL, remove the PFL/SRL from service.

Note: If there is a green dot on your PFL/SRL box label or there is a green dot on the end of your rivets, it has already been inspected by MSA and has been determined to be acceptable. No further inspection on your part is necessary.

Replacing Affected PFLs and SRLs

If there is any question about the results of the inspection, remove the PFL/SRL from service and contact Hercules SLR for a replacement PFL and/or SRL.


HERCULES SLR PROVIDES MAINTENANCE, INSPECTIONS & REPAIRS FOR RIGGING EQUIPMENT

NEED A LIFT? GIVE US A CALL, OR DROP US A LINE.

INFO@HERCULESSLR.COM  1 (877) 461-4876

 


Hercules SLR is part of Hercules Group of Companies, with locations and unique businesses coast-to-coast. We provide securing, lifting and rigging services for sectors in Canada and Internationally. Hercules SLR serves the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email info@herculesslr.com

Stuck in a Tight Spot? What to know in a confined space

confined space, hercules slr, how to work in confined spaces

Most workers will have to work in a confined space at some point in their career – although common, many workers and employers don’t plan or account for common hazards found in them. 

Read on to discover commonly-found dangers in confined spaces and how to prepare for them. 

WHAT’S A CONFINED SPACE? 

A confined space is an area that:

  • Is large enough to enter and do work in;
  • Has limited entries and exits;
  • Isn’t meant for long-term human occupancy.
  • Examples: Silos’, tunnels, sewers, wells, underground utility vaults, an empty tanker trailer

WHAT’S A PERMIT-REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE (PRCS)?

Yes, it’s a confined space that you need a permit to enter – but a permit-required confined space also:

  • Contains or has the potential to contain serious safety or health hazards like:
    • Engulfment
    • Toxic Atmosphere
    • Puzzling Configuration
    • Heat or Cold Stress
    • Slipping Hazards
    • Flammable Atmosphere
    • Oxygen Deficiency

CONFINED SPACE HAZARD: 2 FACTORS THAT CREATE HAZARDS

  1.  Failure to see and control hazards associated with the confined space
    • Atmospheric hazards
    • Physical hazards
  2. Poor Emergency response time or plan
    • Many injuries or fatalities in confined spaces occur when other workers attempt to save coworkers injured in a confined space
    • Nearly 60% of worker fatalities occur when trying to save someone else from a confined space hazard 

Nearly 60% of deaths in confined spaces happen to the would-be rescuer

CONFINED SPACE: KNOW THE HAZARDS

Hazard #1: Oxygen Deficiency

Normal air has an oxygen content of 20.8-.9% – when there’s less than 19.5% available, you’re in a oxygen-deficient space. When this level decreases, even by 1-2% the effects are felt immediately. When working in a space with this level, remember to wear a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). 

What leads to oxygen deficiency? Inadequate ventilation, poor air quality, oxygen consumed from welding, decomposition, rust are some of the factors that cause oxygen levels to drop.

Oxygen Deficiency Levels

  • Minimum for safe entry: 19.5%
  • Impaired judgement and breathing, accelerated heartbeat: 16%
  • Faulty judgement and rapid fatigue: 14%
  • Nausea, vomiting, inability to perform simple tasks, unconsciousness: 6-10%
  • Rapid loss of consciousness, death in minutes: Less than 6%
Hazard #2: Oxygen Displacement

Oxygen displacement occurs when there’s an inert gas (it’s worth noting inert gas is different than a noble gas – an inert gas doesn’t chemically react, and a noble gas does chemically react under certain conditions. All noble gases are inert, but not all inert gases are noble).

When enough of a inert gas is in a confined space, it displaces the oxygen which makes it difficult – well, impossible to breathe. For example, nitrogen is non-toxic, colourless and odourless – but will displace the oxygen in a room.

Hazard #3: Fire & Flammable Atmosphere

Flammable atmospheres are caused by flammable liquids, gases and combustible dusts which if lit, can cause an explosion or fire. The ignition doesn’t have to be a flame – it can be something as simple as static electricity or a small spark.

Hazard #4: Physical

You can become engulfed after being trapped or enveloped by material. Electrocution can happen when electrical equipment is activated, and mechanical energy can activate and cause physical injury. 

Other physical safety hazards, although small that can still cause injury are inadequate lighting, noise, vibration and radiation. Nearby traffic, vehicles and other heavy machinery could also be a hazard. Objects and slippery areas pose falling hazards, and hot or cold temperature extremes also pose a threat. Extremely high temperatures can cause your body to undergo heat stress. 

Heat Stress Symptoms

In a confined space (and other areas) your body might not be able to cool down which can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke to occur.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Pale, clammy skin

When these symptoms occur, you should move to a cool area, raise your legs, take off any heavy clothing, drink water and apply a wet cloth to your skin. 

Heat stroke symptoms include:

  • Dry, pale skin – with no sweat
  • Hot, red skin that looks sunburnt
  • Unable to think straight, seizure, unconsciousness

When this occurs:

  • Call 911
  • Move victim to a cool area
  • Loosen or remove heavy clothing
  • Place icepacks at your armpit and groin

To protect yourself:

  • Try to work or accomplish physical parts of work during the coolest parts of the day
  • Use spot ventilation
  • Use buddy system
  • Drink cold water – try to drink around every 15 minutes and take frequent breaks
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine in high temperatures, and be mindful of medication as this can increase your risk of heat  stroke.

confined space, hercules slr, srl, self-retracting lifeline, inspections, repairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONFINED SPACE: PROCEDURES

Before you start work in a confined space, it’s essential to follow a procedure to control and/or minimize safety hazards and remain safe on the job. Follow this procedure before working in a confined space:

  • Conduct a pre-entry evaluation (like a discussion with everyone who will be working at the site);
  • Identify and eliminate potential hazards that can enter the space, both atmospheric and physical;
  • Use forced air ventilation and use lock out/tag out if necessary;
  • Complete an entry permit – Assign an entrant, attendant and supervisor and any other relevant competent person needed on the site.

The Authorized Entrant will:

  • Know hazards that will face workers during entry;
  • Wear proper PPE;
  • Maintain communication with the attendant;
  • Know the signs of overexposure/heat stress and stroke;
  • Evacuate the confined space when ordered to or when over-exposed to hazard(s).

The Authorized Attendant will:

  • Keep their position outside the entrance at all time;
  • Know the signs and symptoms of overexposure;
  • Prevent unauthorized people from entering the space;
  • Maintain communication with entrants;
  • Begin the emergency response/rescue plan if needed;
  • Complete an evaluation of the entrance before they start work;
  • Make sure personnel know the hazards;
  • Implement any necessary control measures, for example – ventilation;
  • Complete any permits that are necessary to enter the space;
  • Complete any tests needed to enter the confined space safely.

REMEMBER TO use retrieval equipment to remove yourself or the entrant from the confined pace.

Ensuring you have the necessary PPE for emergency rescue situations is the most important step of working in a confined space.

As we mentioned, almost 60% of confined space deaths happen to someone trying to rescue a coworker – It’s natural to want to save a life, but it’s important to not take two lives in the process. This is why confined space planning is essential to completing work efficiently and safely.


Choosing and having the proper PPE for the job is essential to staying safe amidst hazards in a confined space. This may include self-retracting lifelines, anchorages or body harness’ – click the link below to find out more about Hercules SLR’s fall protection services. 

Fall Protection

Check out our blogs to learn more about fall protection and staying safe at heights: 

Sources: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health - https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/hsprograms/confinedspace_intro.html 

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.