Guidance on use maintenance and inspection of Fall Protection Equipment

Published: 02nd September 2009
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Guidance on use, maintenance and inspection

of fall protection equipment

This article is only intended as general guidance, for specific guidance contact individual manufacturers of the fall protection equipment you are using. The legal requirements are covered in detail within the Working at height Regulations 2005, in addition there are requirements laid out in EN 365:2004 and BS 8437:05.

Obsolescence or lifespan of "soft materials" rope, webbing, harnesses, dyneema, etc that remains un-used at the place of manufacture is 5 years, once the product is purchased it then has a "working life" of 5 years. The total life is 10 years.

However this does not take into account the environment the harness has been stored or the conditions under which it is used, once it has left the manufacturer.

We recommend that soft materials used for fall protection are used for 5 years from the date of purchase; if this cannot be ascertained then it should be assumed the products went into service on the date of manufacture. This date is printed on the certificate of conformity attached to the product; if this is missing or is illegible then the product should be removed from service and permanently and irretrievably destroyed.

Once a product has reached the 5 year limit it should be withdrawn from service whether it has been rejected for other reasons or not.

All fall protection products should be accompanied with an inspection regime, the regime should include:

· The equipment to be inspected, including a unique identification number.

· The frequency and type of inspection, pre-use checks, detailed and interim inspection.

· Designated competent person to carry out the inspections

· Action on finding defects

· Means of recording the inspections

· List of trained users

· Monitor and review to verify the inspections are carried out accordingly.

A competent person is one who is knowledgeable of the current inspection requirements, recommendations and instructions issued by the manufacture.

Any person who attends a Leading Edge working at height course, Level 1 or 2 will be deemed competent to inspect fall protection equipment at the level to which they are trained, i.e. a Level 1 operative will be able to undertake daily inspections of the harness they are wearing and the safety equipment they will be using. A Level 2 trained person will be deemed more competent and therefore able to undertake the pre-use checks, interim inspections and thorough examinations.

These inspection logs should always be available with the product and kept until the "work is complete," at the site where the fall protection is being used, thereafter at an office for "3months."

Once a product has been used to arrest a fall it should never be re-used. It should be withdrawn from service and destroyed. We recommend that the product is photographed before, during and after this process. The pictures should be kept on a password protected file and the certificate of conformity removed form the product at kept in a secure place. This is to assist in any subsequent legal action.

If there is no evidence of an inspection within the last 6months and or identification numbers are not present the fall protection equipment should be withdrawn from service and passed to the manufacturer for a detailed inspection to decide on further action.

Customers of leading edge who have bought Leading Edge fall protection products and received our training are eligible for our free service pack which includes:

Formal Equipment Inspection.

We will inspect and recertify any Leading Edge equipment at your location by arrangement. We can provide the minimum of disruption while maintaining top quality safety standards with a thorough equipment check. All equipment that passes our formal inspection and is suitable for its allocated purpose will receive official inspection tagging detailing the equipment has been recertified by Leading Edge.

Formal inspections need to be carried out on all equipment every six months. We include official documentation of the inspected items including serial numbers for your site contact along with a further list of all equipment that did not pass the inspection and is not suitable for use. A copy of these lists will then be sent to the elected head office contact for their records, and of course this service is free to all our customers

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