Height safety equipment act as the first line of defence against fatal falls. When working at height, employees rely on the equipment to arrest falls and prevent severe injuries and death. Therefore, the equipment should be in excellent condition at all times to avoid failure mid-operation. Regular inspection of height safety equipment can reveal faults that might jeopardise the safety of employees working at height. Below are three steps for creating a reliable inspection schedule for the equipment.
Create an inspection checklist
Without a checklist, it's hard to keep track of all the height safety equipment under your care. Therefore, note all the equipment used by workers. These include:
- Safety harnesses
- Lanyards and ropes
- Lifting slings
- Static line systems
- Fall arrest systems
- Horizontal and vertical lifelines
Equipment such as harnesses, ropes, slings and lanyards require daily inspections before use. Therefore, with a checklist, you can easily keep track of inspected equipment before commencing work at height.
Outline inspection requirements
Besides daily inspections, there are other circumstances that necessitate the inspection of height safety equipment. Without proper specifications, you may find uninspected or defective equipment in the hands of workers. Therefore, outline inspection requirements for items that fall into the following categories:
- New height safety equipment: You must inspect all new height safety equipment to rule out manufacturer defects that may compromise the safety of workers.
- Repaired equipment: After repairing safety gear, inspect it to determine whether the repairs meet the required safety standards. Retire any equipment that is still defective after repairs.
- Stored safety gear: Height safety equipment that has been in storage should be inspected before use. Poor storage conditions can deteriorate the materials and increase the risk of failure during operation.
- Expired gear: Inspect, tag and retire or destroy any height safety gear that has reached the end of its usable life.
Inspect personal protective equipment such as harnesses, lanyards and fall arrest devices after arresting a fall. The weight exerted on the equipment during a fall can compromise its integrity. Thus, reusing the gear without proper inspection or repairs can expose workers to falls.
Specify equipment inspection procedures
What does equipment inspection entail? Visual inspections alone are not always enough to unearth underlying faults in equipment. Therefore, specify the procedures for inspecting the safety gear. For example, harnesses and lanyards require a visual inspection that looks for tears, abrasion, heat and chemical damage, overstretching and premature deterioration.
Conversely, fall arrest devices have screws, nuts and metal parts that you need to check for cracks, corrosion, distortion and severe dents. Some arrest devices have locking mechanisms you must inspect for proper function. A detailed inspection checklist can help cover all the checks on the different equipment.
Hire a height safety equipment inspector for a professional height safety equipment inspection.