Wearing fall arrest PPE, is a crucial aspect of any derrickman’s day to day routine. Wearing fall arrest equipment without inspecting it can provide a false sense of security. This equipment is subject to tremendous loads during a fall, so unless each component is thoroughly inspected and properly used, it may not save your life. If you were to have a fall, you want to be sure your gear will save your life. Always follow manufacturers’ recommendations when inspecting your equipment. Below are several items to look for:
Belts & Body Harnesses:
• Thoroughly inspect all nylon webbing on belt/body harnesses for frayed edges, broken fibers, burn marks, deterioration or other visible signs of damage. Do the same if the belt or body harness is constructed of other materials. Stitching should be intact and not torn or loose. The belt or harness should be somewhat “soft” and flexible and not stiff from dirt or contaminants.
• Check to see that buckles and “D” rings are not distorted or damaged. Look closely at all components for stress cracks, deformity, gouging, corrosion and sharp edges. Inspect connection points where the buckle or “D” ring is attached to the belt or body harness. Insure that no stitching is pulled and that the buckle or “D” ring is securely attached.
• Inspect all rivets and grommets to be certain they are not deformed, and are securely fastened to the belt or body harness and cannot be pulled loose.
• If you find any of these conditions during the inspection, do not use the equipment.
• Completely check the entire length of the lanyard, looking for cuts, fraying, deterioration, knots, kinks, burns or visible signs of damage. Stitching should be intact and not torn or loose. Spliced ends must also be carefully examined for damage or deterioration. Check to see that the lanyard is somewhat “soft” and not stiff from dirt or contaminants.
• If using a “shock absorber” type of lanyard, look for the “warning tag” which indicates that the lanyard has been exposed to a fall.
• Snap hooks and eyes should not be distorted or bent. Inspect them for cracks, sharp edges, gouges or corrosion. Check to be sure the locking mechanism is operating properly and that there is no binding of the mechanism.
• If using a self-retracting lanyard (SRL), you must inspect the body of the mechanism for flaws to assure that all nuts, screws and rivets are installed and tight. Also check crimped ends or stitching for damage. Inspect the entire length of the SRL for any visible signs of defects.
• Test the locking mechanism by pulling sharply on the cable end to be sure it locks immediately and firmly.