Fall arrest anchors are the things that connect you to a lanyard to help keep you safe from falling when you’re working high off the ground, or to keep you from falling into machinery, a hazardous substance or object, water or other liquid, through a hole on a work surface, or into the path of other workers. An anchor is attached to something that is structurally sound, like a steel beam or the roof being worked on.
Different types of anchors are used for different things; for example, an anchor used on a steel beam will be different than one used on a residential wood roof. Each type of fall protection anchor has lots of accessories available to help keep workers safe. Keep reading to learn more about fall protection anchors for different applications, fall protection harnesses, and the proper installation of anchors in different structures.
1. Fall Arrest Anchors
Fall arrest anchors are different for steel, wood, pipe, and concrete surfaces. Temporary and permanent anchors are available; when the right anchor is installed, the worker then has to choose the right lanyard, which is what connects the worker to the anchor. There are several different accessories and options when it comes to lanyards, as well.
2. Fall Protection Harnesses
A harness is what connects the worker to the lanyard. There are different types, namely: single leg shock, dual leg shock, fall limiters, tie back, and restraint lanyard. Different extensions and assemblies are made available for each worker’s individual needs. The right fall arrest harness for the job is essential for the worker’s safety.
Universal and positioning harnesses are good for weekend workers and hobbyists, whereas the people who work at heights every day will want something a little more specialized. These might include the following: vest, tower, welding, construction, flotation, fire resistant, retrieval, and high visibility harnesses.
The very first question to answer when it comes to installation is whether the anchors will be installed on a roof or different structure. The roof might be residential, commercial, and standing seam. Structures other than a roof would be structural steel and I-beams, concrete, windows and doors, parapets, and metal decking.
A roof might use an anchor point with a single-point fall protection tie-off. For a roof that cannot be penetrated, for whatever reason, a portable dead weight anchor can be used. On a standing seam roof, a two-way anchor or roof clamp will be used.
Concrete can pose a challenge, but it’s not impossible, and the options are wall bolt-ons, drop-through anchors, swivels, and hollow core anchors. Workers who need to anchor to steel beams can use trolley anchors, cables, rigging clamps, and bolt-hole anchors. Metal decking gives workers the chance to use a reusable v-shaped anchor.
To anchor to a window or door, a jamb anchor is used; however, a self-retracting lifeline is required here.
Parapets are another specialty structure. Workers can anchor to a reusable parapet anchor system, which can also be used as a fall arrest point.
The Ontario government has regulations surrounding fall protection systems. Each construction worker who works at heights must be adequately trained to use fall protection systems.
5. Installing the First Fall Protection Anchor
To be as safe as possible, the person installing the first safety anchor should use a man lift wherever possible, and should be anchored to the man lift while installing the first fall protection anchor. No work should be done on a roof or high surface without being attached to an anchor, so installing the first anchor should always be the first task.