Recalls: Fall Protection Equipment and Standard

Just like any consumer product, fall protection equipment is not immune from manufacturing defects.  LJB has recently become aware of two recent product recalls. Malfunctioning fall protection equipment could result in serious injury or death, so it is important to be aware of these issues.

  • 3M has issued a recall on the THOR family of self-retracting lanyard units (M-, RLD- and 205G- Series) due to concerns with the brake pad material found in this family of retractable lanyards.The manufacturer discovered a process quality issue that could potentially affect the performance of the brake pads. With this specific product defect, the equipment could fail to properly arrest a fall, and ultimately lead to the total disengagement of the lifeline assembly from the drum and housing assembly.
  • Guardian Fall Protection (GFP) recently notified customers of a possible unsafe condition due to a supplier defect in a specific style of swivel snaphook.  This was discovered during initial inspection of the equipment performed by a user, highlighting the importance of pre-use inspection.GFP was made aware of a non-injury incident involving a GFP self-retracting lifeline (SRL) where a swivel snaphook failed. This situation is restricted to a certain type of swivel snaphook supplied to GFP and is identified in this notice. Upon discovery, both GFP and the supplier have increased inspection processes to ensure this cannot occur in the future.

In addition, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently suspended the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA) I-14 Committee and the I-14 Standard, Window Cleaning Safety, due to concerns with load testing requirements. I know many organizations have looked to this standard for guidance on load testing and other items related to fall protection. Please be aware that the IWCA has been suspended and should not be used to justify load testing needs.

Issues like these reinforce the fact that PPE should be a last resort—not a first option—when developing fall protection solutions.  PPE systems are only as strong as their weakest link.

Comments

  1. Steve Walden says:

    Thomas,
    It was my understanding that the window cleaning standard discussed load testing at 50% load however, I also thought that the load test was not actually required but was an option based on issues noted during visual inspection. This has caused confusion over the past couple of years and applying it to non-window washing operations. Thanks.

  2. Steve,
    Thank you for commenting on this. Some items to remember:
    IWCA I-14.1 was withdrawn by ANSI
    Load test magnitude is 50% of breaking load, i.e. 2,500 pounds.
    Load testing if 10-year recertification identifies suspicious area. Standard does not require this load test though.
    Load testing to be performed under supervision of PE

    Have a great day, ThomK

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