Fall protection anchorages are a hotly debated topic, and one that I am personally passionate about. A poll question from a recent webinar on fall protection system certification has sparked some healthy debate on anchorages once again.
The question: True or false – By law, all anchorages must be designed by a qualified person.
The answer I gave during the webinar was false—that anchorages do not have to be designed by a qualified person. That answer was not technically correct, and I appreciate our attendees for listening so closely and pointing out how the nuance of wording is incredibly importance in this instance.
According to OSHA, anchorages must be designed under the supervision of a qualified person OR support 5,000 pounds. My point with the poll question was that OSHA requires that a qualified person design anchorages, but also technically says that anyone can designate what anchorages can support 5,000 pounds.
There is truly an important distinction between design and designate. Essentially, anyone can designate what serves as a fall protection anchorage, despite the specific and critical engineering and safety variables that must be accounted for. Even though the law technically allows others (non-qualified persons) to designate an anchorage, please be extremely cautious using this practice. Appropriate anchorages are critical to proper function of fall protection solutions—this function definitely shouldn’t be left in untrained hands.