Vol. 4 – The Value of a Qualified Person

As explained in the previous blog posts in this series, the evaluation of rope descent anchorages can be incredibly complex—and potentially very damaging. However, that doesn’t change the fact that OSHA still requires building owners to provide the assurance that their anchorages are fit for use.

When deciding how to move forward, it is critical to involve an expert who is not only a professional engineer, but who is also very experienced in fall protection.

Throughout the updated OSHA regulations, the text refers to the need for a “Qualified” person to perform various tasks. According to OSHA’s definition, qualified means:

Qualified describes a person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.

It is important to note that very few professional engineers fit the description of a Qualified person. When you engage a professional to assist in evaluating anchorages, the highlighted words in the definition above are critical. You need someone who has extensive knowledge relating to the subject matter of fall protection, and that they can show examples of previous successful work. This topic is too complex and potentially life threatening to leave it to someone is not fully qualified. Many professional engineers can evaluate the strength of an anchorage, but as was written in a previous blog, there’s more to certification than anchorage strength.

When properly accounting for and documenting all elements of a complete system, OSHA (1910.140(c)(13)(ii)) and the ANSI/ASSP Z359.2 standard permit a qualified person to design fall protection anchorages for a lower strength. Since OSHA intends the variables in the system to be better controlled by an individual with more training, a lower factor of safety on the strength may be used. This is often helpful when considering anchorages connected to facilities not originally intended to support these loads.

In the fifth and final installment of this blog series, we’ll tie it all together and summarize a process for anchorage certification that not only addresses anchorage strength, but achieves true OSHA compliance and— more importantly—can truly reduce the risk for workers relying on the systems. Subscribe now or check back next Wednesday for that information. As always, we welcome your comments and additional questions on this topic below.



  1. […] the next blog post in this series, we provide more information on the value of involving a fall protection Qualified […]

  2. […] your qualified person observe the use and discuss the application. And, as discussed in a blog post by my colleague Kevin Wilcox, make sure the qualified person is a true professional—ideally, both a professional engineer and […]

  3. […] certification must be done by a qualified person. Not wanting to repeat myself, I’ll refer you to this previous blog post for more information on what a qualified person needs to do. The reliability of the certification […]

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