There’s a really important reason that LJB focuses heavily on detailed equipment inspection in its fall protection training courses. Every piece of fall protection equipment has components that could be damaged and result in catastrophe. So, performing a thorough pre-use inspection can mean the difference between life and death.
Consider this case: a worker at one of our clients’ sites performed a pre-use inspection before donning his harness and attaching a self-retracting device to it. Although he thought the equipment was in appropriate working order, his self-retracting lanyard detached from his harness during the course of his work—fortunately before he was working at heights. The culprit? A small nub was missing from the housing of the lanyard and allowed the locking pin to disengage.
As a result of this incident, the manufacturer has updated the equipment instructions to clearly identify the nub as part of the inspection requirements. This situation illustrates why LJB recommends that you look for fall protection solutions that don’t rely on personal protective equipment (PPE) whenever possible. If you do have to use PPE, it’s important to minimize the number of different products in your fall protection program. Fewer products means you can master their use, become expert in the ways they can fail, and more easily stay current with user instructions.
This story has a happy ending since the worker was not working at heights when the equipment failed, and the instructions have been modified to avoid future incident.
How diligently are you inspecting your equipment? Would you have noticed the nub that could save your life?