When working on a high surface, like a roof, it is imperative that workers take steps to protect themselves from falling.
Especially in cases where work is temporary, it often does not make sense to install permanent safety measures like guard rails, equipment that would normally be deemed the acceptable safety measure needed. In cases like these, more temporary measures will be taken, and equipment like fall arrest anchors will be used to ensure worker safety.
1. What is a fall arrest anchor?
When on a temporary, yet dangerously high surface, workers will install an anchor to the surface, which creates a base where they can then attach themselves via a harness and a lanyard. If they were ever to fall, the sturdy anchor would stay put, which would halt the worker’s fall.
The equipment they would be wearing would be worn in such a way that when they fell, the force would not cause them severe injury, and the anchor would be installed to ensure that it could handle the weight of the person plus the force of the fall.
2. Different types for different materials
Of course, the surfaces that workers will be dealing with can vary greatly, which means anchors need to be available for any kind of required surface. Some are designed specifically for domestic purposes, others are designed for industrial purposes. And again, some are manufactured to work with a specific material.
Each type of anchor also comes with its own set of special accessories that ensure the worker’s safety on that particular type of surface. There are universal anchors, however these are not intended for people who work in the industry – they are meant to “do the trick” but are not as reliable as a unit being used for the specific purpose it was designed for.
3. Where are they used?
If it’s off the ground, it needs fall arrest anchors. Anybody who is working on a roof, a bridge, building construction, window washing, and many other similar jobs, needs a fall arrest system, and will probably need somewhere to anchor themselves. Especially in recent years, industries where workers can fall are working very hard to create solutions in the hopes that they can stop people from falling, since it is such a preventable cause of death and injury.
There is no limit to the people or location that can or should use a fall arrest anchor. If it is going to keep somebody safe, it should be used.
4. It requires additional equipment
The fall arrest anchor is not the only piece of equipment required to keep someone safe. It is important to understand that the anchor is just one piece of multiple pieces of equipment that connect to create the full fall arrest system.
The worker would be wearing a harness of some sort that would be attached to a lanyard which would connect to the anchor itself. But in addition to those three main components, there are other accessories and pieces that may be necessary depending on the situation and the material that is being worked on.
5. It should be policy
Most of the time, companies require their workers to follow a certain set of safety rules. For workers who are up high, that should include always being attached to a fall arrest anchor. However, just because the company does or doesn’t require something, doesn’t mean the workers shouldn’t be involved too.
Many falls leading to death or severe injury are not caused because the equipment was not available, but because the worker chose not to use it. It is important for both company and worker to take safety seriously.