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Safety - Fall Protection - Lifelines

Updated on March 7, 2009

Fall Arrest Equipment Instructions - Rope Grabs and Lifelines

Falls are one of the greatest causes of serious injuries and fatalities in both the work place and at home. This series of lens gives detailed information on fall prevention and fall protection. Specifically this lens has information on the use of Rope Grabs and Lifelines.

About the Author

What makes me qualified to tell you about fall prevention and protection?

I have over 20 years experience of working in a variety of industrial environments that have all included working at height. These include Petrochem, Metal Manufacturing, Power Generation and Construction.

In that time I have promoted safe working at height to everybody.

For a number of years I was employed by a large American Corporation and was deemed to be the local Fall Prevention and Protection expert and introduced many new systems and methods of work.

I am now in a position where I would like to share some of the knowledge I have gained over the years.

General Warnings

1. For Safe and efficient use of rope grabs, it is essential, prior to use, to read, understand and comply with the advice given on this instruction sheet. Additional copies of this sheet are available on request.

2. Before using, users shall have received adequate training.

3. The user is responsible for checking the safety devices before use.

4. Never use equipment that is visibly not in good condition, any equipment showing signs of deterioration shall not be used and will be quarantined until checked.

5. Replacement of any original parts by parts from other sources is strictly forbidden.

6. The rope grabs described in this instruction sheet shall be used exclusively for personal protection purposes and not for any other purpose including slinging or lifting of tools or materials.

7. Never use the equipment for the protection of more than one person at a time.

8. Any equipment involved in a fall arrest event must not be re-used until a competent inspector has inspected it.

9. Instructions for any other equipment being used in conjunction with the rope grab device must also be fully understood prior to use.

Equipment Description

The rope grab is a portable personal fall arrest system on a textile rope, with automatic control. The system comprises:

- A specially designed polyamide 14mm diameter textile rope. It is fitted with a ring-spliced buckle allowing it to be mounted at the upper anchor point. At the lower end there is a stop splice to prevent the rope grab running off the rope. One rope strand has a label identifying the date of manufacture, on another there is a label indicating that it is in accordance with appropriate standards.

- A rope grab is for use in the vertical position automatically, or the horizontal position with user assistance. In the event of a fall the rope grab will always arrest the fall automatically. If the user falls, locking of the rope grab is activated by the speed differential between the user and the equipment on the textile rope and by the sliding movement of the rope grab on the textile rope.

- Use of an optional fitted lanyard will allow the user a degree of freedom of movement and will facilitate the installation of the rope grab on the textile rope.

The textile rope must be of a suitable length for the intended travel to ensure continuous protection.

Installation

The rope grab must be attached to the harness by a lanyard. It must be correctly positioned (directional arrow pointing upwards) on the textile rope, the upper end of which must be anchored to a suitable point using an appropriate connector.

The equipment must be capable of alignment without difficulty along the direction of the load in the event of a fall. A competent person prior to use must inspect any assembly requiring the construction of an anchorage point.

Checks Prior to USE

The following Checks must be carried out before each set up:

1: Check the rope grab.

- Check the condition; reject any equipment showing signs of wear, traces of rust, signs of physical damage etc.

- Check the correct operation of the mechanism, lift the unit by the end connector so that it moves freely on the rope, release the connector, the unit should lock onto the rope.

- Check that the anchoring of the textile rope is above the user and in line with the working position, within a limit of 30o.

2: Check the harness.

- Refer to the instruction sheet for the harness.

3: Check the connectors.

- Refer to the relevant instruction sheet for the connectors being used.

4: Check the potential fall area.

- Check that the potential fall area is free from obstacles.

- Clearance must allow the user’s fall to be stopped before encountering any obstacle, allow a 3m safety distance for extension of the rope or shock-absorbing lanyard.

- Ensure that no obstacle is liable to be struck because of any swinging motion.

5: Check the surrounding area.

- Check that the textile rope is not liable to contact any sharp edges.

- Check that the textile rope of the rope grab is not liable to come into contact with any sharp edges including any tools being carried in a tool belt.

- Check that the textile rope will not be exposed to temperature exceeding 100oC or to Mechanical or Chemical corroding agents.

- Check that there is a competent person nearby to raise the alarm in the event of an emergency.

6: Have a rescue plan in place before starting work.

WARNING – The textile rope is an elastic item requiring a certain amount of clearance to avoid a collision.

Installing the Rope Grab onto the Textile Rope.

- Unscrew the serrated button, pressing the release level simultaneously.

- Open the unit.

- Position the rope in the unit along the jaw, ensuring that the arrow on the unit is pointing towards the anchor point.

- Close the unit and screw up the serrated button, the release lever will automatically click into place when the serrated button is screwed fully home.

WARNING – Observe the correct positioning of the unit in accordance with the directional arrow, failure to do this will prevent the device from operating correctly.

Operation

- With the unit correctly attached to the textile rope and connected to the harness the user has no more to do to operate the fall arrest system. The unit will run freely when used with a vertically positioned rope, but will need to be moved manually when used with a horizontally positioned rope.

- In the event of a fall the user will be restrained immediately be the system.

- In the event of a fall where the fall arrest device has been deployed all equipment being used must be quarantined for inspection.

Storage

- Upon completion of the task, the rope must be coiled neatly and replaced in the storage locker, all connectors must be stored in the closed position.

Checks and Maintenance

To ensure safe operation of the fall arrest equipment it must be kept in good condition.

- Clean the outside of any components (use soapy water for textiles and De-solv-it for metal parts), allow to dry in air, away from the sun and any direct heat and sheltered from damp.

- Oil hinged parts, grease threads and wheel springs

- Any metal part showing signs of damage or deformation must be removed from service and be checked by a competent person.

- When checking the textile rope it must be fully uncoiled and checked visually.

Permissible Attachments

In conformity with EN363 and good standard practices, this equipment may be integrated into a fall arrest system which fall comprise:

- An anchor point (for roof work this anchor point can be the installed lifeline cable system)

- A connector

- Rope Grab and textile Rope

- A connector (including a lanyard with shock absorber)

- A fall arrest harness (a back attachment is recommended)

Any other combination must be authorised by a competent person before use.

Warnings against Hazardous operations

The following should be avoided:

- Use of equipment that has not been inspected.

- Use of the equipment without a minimum clearance of 3m.

- Anchoring the textile rope below the user.

- Deviation from the vertical of the anchorage point by more than 30o

- Use of the equipment where there is a risk of injury due to swinging.

- Use of a knotted or looped textile rope.

- Use of equipment that has been put into quarantine for any reason.

- Use of the equipment for more than one person at a time.

- Hindrance of free movement of the system.

- Attaching the equipment by means other than the attachment point.

- Use of the equipment for purposes other than the intended use.

- Use of the textile rope for slinging or lifting.

- Working at the extreme end of the textile rope.

- Insertion of foreign substances into the equipment.

- Striking the casing of the rope grab.

- Playing with the equipment (for example “bungee jumping”)

Trouble-Shooting

If the equipment appears to be faulty in any way it must not be used and must be inspected by a competent person before being put back into service.

Buy Safety Equipment - Make yourself safe before it is too late.

Disclaimer

The information in this lens is provided for information only and does not intend to replace any training that a user must receive. The author can accept no responsibility of any kind for any accident, injury, damage or loss resulting from a person or persons using this information.

This information must not be used to replace local standards, procedures and training.

Every job must be fully assessed for risk and method before any works are performed.

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