Fall protection while climbing wood poles is sometimes overlooked. Without a good fall protection system, wood pole climbers are susceptible to injuries and falls while climbing to complete a job. New improvements and techniques have been developed to help increase the fall protection to these kinds of workers. Even though, wood poles are being replaced by concrete poles, sometimes due to economic factors the use of wood poles is required. This article will highlight the importance to provide safety method for the workers and reduce their injuries.
1. Work Positioning Devices
Work position allows the operator to enter the hazard and work hands free, and requires the strap to be placed over a counterweight object. A work positioning system must include a secondary system for fall arrest in the event the work positioning system should fail. These systems are not recommended to prevent falls greater than 2 feet. They shall be secured to an anchorage capable of supporting at least twice the potential impact load of an employee's fall or 3,000 pounds, whichever is greater.
2. Fall Arrest
A fall arrest system is required by OSHA for workers subject to vertical drops of at least six feet and greater. The fall arrest system is connectable to a body belt of the climber, which is strapped about the waist of the climber. Nowadays, full body harness systems are becoming more popular among linemen, providing a better support for the weight of them and providing easier rescue efforts if needed.
3. Fall Restrict Systems
When selecting a fall restrict systems several factors must be taken into consideration:
These types of systems works with the climber’s weight, which actuates a mechanism to stop a fall in the event when a worker looses grips with the pole. This is the most effective way to prevent falls while climbing wood poles. Falls restrict systems are composed of a two part mechanism: an exterior strap and an interior strap, which is connected to the exterior strap pulling it together creating a clinching action. The interior strap is connected to the body of the lineman, adjusting the distance between the worker and the pole. It is very important that these systems must meet ANSI Z359.1-07 requirements rating them for at least 3,600 pounds in every direction. This certification should be a prerequisite when considering a fall restricting belt. To maintain 100 percent fall protection, fall restrict systems require a second positioning strap when transferring over or under obstructions.
If the use of a personal fall arrest system is not reasonably practicable, an employer must ensure that a worker use an equally effective fall protection system that meets similar requirements.