By Alec Caldwell
When I cut the top off my boiled egg the other day, I considered the time it took. In my rough estimation, it took no longer than the time it takes a person, falling from 16 feet up, to hit the ground.
Speed of fall was part of my discussion last week, when I put eight construction workers, including the business owner, through a required Fall Awareness Protection course onsite in Brampton, Ontario.
Anyone working from heights of 10 or more feet above ground, hopefully, is wearing the required harness. Along with the harness, there has to be a lanyard and it has to be connected correctly to an anchor point. The condition of the equipment being used also plays a huge part in the outcome and severity of the injuries sustain from the fall, especially if it’s faulty or malfunction. Injuries sustained while using fall equipment far outweigh the alternative.
Facts show falls are the number one cause of serious injuries because either fall protection equipment is missing or not used correctly and 60% of falls above 10 ft result in death.
This is why everyone is required to take a Fall Protection Awareness course and we suggest you find a competent instructor. These instructors are worth their weight in gold and will normally supply you information much needed in helping you work safer and smarter, hopefully getting you home each night in one piece.
On the subject of fall equipment not being used properly brings me to our buyer beware warning, as recent information came to our attention. I personally investigated this situation and equipment on sale at a big box store called a roofers kit. After surveying its contents I noted two area’s of concern. Firstly the full body harness only came in large (Grande) and not in a small or medium size. Facts show some fall victims escaped or fell out of their harnesses after their fall, because harnesses were incorrect or not secured tightly enough.
Further in the kit comes a re usable metal anchor bracket, including 3 ½ ardox nails. The problem or weakness I see with this is on its removal for re use and how can you remove this bracket safely without causing damage to it like hairline fractures and more. Re using surly must reduce the anchors strength, especially as its supposed to support weight of a small car (3600 lbs)
The instructions attached to this anchor says screws can also be used and gives there size, but why did the supplier not enclose them as well along with the nails for choice and awareness? Who reads instructions? Well maybe its time we all now started, especially in areas like this where our lives and that of others depend on it.
My question to all our reader is, whats your thoughts on this situation and have you any advice or suggestions?
Lastly I was told as a kid if I said one Mississippi, this would constitute one second of time. What can you achieve in one second when falling 18 feet?
CARAHS is a non profit Occupational Health & Safety Association delivering education, training & benefits to self employed contractors, renovators, builders & trades
For Fall Protection Awareness course call Toll Free 1-866-2930 www.carahs.org