How to Choose the Right Fall Protection System for Your Needs
There are several factors that you should consider to ensure you have the right fall protection system in your workplace. These include identifying the areas in your workplace that need fall protection, how the system will be supported, and the number of workers who’ll be using the system at one time, among other factors. Here’s a simple selection guide to help you install a comprehensive fall protection system for your workforce and help you identify the best system for your application. You’ll need to install proper access equipment such as fixed access ladders to help you to safely access different heights.
Determine the Coverage Area and Hook Distance
Specifying your required coverage area and hook distance will help you identify the best system for your particular fall protection needs. You need to identify the areas in your facility where your employees need fall protection. You should then determine the length, height, and width of that specific area to help you determine your coverage area and hook-to-surface distance.
Determine the Worker Capacity
After determining your coverage area and hook distance, you’ll then need to determine the worker rating for your system. This rating will depend on the number of employees you intend to attach to the system at one time. You should consider whether your employees will need to pass one another while attached to the system. Ensure to include the weight of the tools a worker will be carrying when determining the maximum working load capacity of your system. If the weight of the user exceeds the designed weight capacity, you must look for a higher system rating that can comfortably support the weight at hand.
Decide Between Mobile and Permanent Fall Protection
You need to select the right fall protection solution, and this means deciding which type of system will be suitable for your application. This includes deciding whether your operation requires a mobile or permanent system.
Mobile/portable systems are usually recommended for temporary work stations. They provide the convenience of mobility without compromising the reliability of rigid track and will hardly require any type of foundation or mounting. You move the mobile systems to any location that needs fall protection yourself using available access equipment where possible or use forklifts or heavy-duty pickup trucks. But, first, you need to ensure there’s enough space on the ground near the specified coverage to place the portable base. If not, check to see if there’s space on either side of the coverage area to access the coverage area. Depending on your individual needs, you’ll need to determine the best way to move the mobile system from one location to another. Should you decide to move the system by hand, ensure to have at least two workers with you to help push the system from one point to another.
Permanent systems can be mounted on walls, roofs, ceilings, or the ground to provide a constant fall arrest solution. They’re ideal for employees who are exposed to or who will be working at heights in the same location. Before installing permanent fall protection systems, ensure to check for any obstructions that would prevent mounting a continuous system or the travel and operation of a self-retracting lanyard. You also need to consider the best way to mount your system according to the operation at hand and your facility.