Re-Certifying and Testing Personal Fall Protection Equipment

Re-Certifying and Testing Personal Fall Protection Equipment

18th June 2019

As an employer of workers who carry out work at height, you are responsible for ensuring that any Personal Fall Protection Systems are re-certified by a competent person at least once each year.  Should an accident occur and the equipment is deemed to be faulty or uncertified, you may be held responsible. 

REGULAR INSPECTIONS ADVICE:

When it comes to regular inspections, the instructions should be clear and concise, and include:

  • A warning on the need for regular inspections and that the safety of those using this equipment depends upon the continuing durability and efficiency of the equipment.
  • The recommendations regarding the frequency of detailed inspections should take into consideration current legislation, the type of equipment, frequency of use and the environmental conditions in which it is used. 
  • Detailed inspections should be carried out at least once every year, whilst interim inspections may be needed where the risk assessment has identified hazards that may cause significant deterioration in the equipment (for instance chemicals, paint, or acidic or alkaline environments).
  • A warning that periodic inspections must only be carried out by a competent person and in accordance with the current relevant standards.
  • Instructions, when considered necessary by the equipment manufacturer, where critical knowledge is required for the dismantling, reassembly or assessment of the equipment (for example, a retractable type of fall arrest system), that period inspections must only be conducted by the manufacturer or a person/organisation authorised by the manufacturer.
  • The requirement to check the legibility of all product markings.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR REPAIR

In cases where repairs are permitted by the manufacturer, the instructions for repair must include a statement that repairs should only be carried out by a competent person who has been authorised by the manufacturer, and that all repair procedures must be in accordance with the instructions issue by the manufacturer.

COMPETENCE

It’s vital that you authorise a competent person/company to assess the risks appropriately and in accordance with the work at height hierarchy.

  • Competency may be demonstrated by certification as well as by experience.  If you are delegating this task to a re-certification company, it’s vital to ensure that they are affiliated to a recognised industry representative body so that they are kept up to date on changes in legislation and standards that relate to the services and products they offer.
  • A competent person should be capable of identifying and assessing the significance of any defects in the equipment, and should initiate the corrective action that should be taken.  The competent person should have the necessary qualifications, skills and resources to do this.
  • The competent person may need to be trained by the manufacturer (or the manufacturer’s authorised representative) on specific personal protective equipment due to its complexity or innovation; or where safety critical knowledge is necessary in order to dismantle, reassemble, or assess the PPE or other equipment.  This training should be updated to cover modifications or upgrades.