Horizontal Lifeline Design
The first choice when protecting workers from a fall should always be elimination of the hazard or passive fall protection (guarding). In some cases, neither of these methods can be used. According to the hierarchy of fall protection, a horizontal lifeline system would not be the first line of defense, but in many situations it’s the only choice available.
Horizontal Lifeline Systems (HLL’s) can be tricky and they require the help of a “Qualified Person” to develop the design and procedures of the fall arrest system. Cal/OSHA Title 8. §1670. Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Personal Fall Restraint Systems and Positioning Devices. (2) Horizontal lifelines shall be designed, installed, and used, under the supervision of a qualified person, as part of a complete personal fall arrest system, which maintains a safety factor of at least two. The 5000 lbs rule does not apply to the HLL’s.
Many aspects should be considered for a horizontal lifeline design, such as how many users the system should be rated for, whether the free fall distances are below the 6’ maximum allowed by OSHA, what user equipment will be used with the system, how the system is attached to your building, will the user be kept primarily in fall restraint, what rescue methods will be used to save a fallen worker, and many more.
There are many options on the market for off the shelf fall arrest systems and most of them have great individual features; some are better than others depending on the situation. When choosing a HLL system for our clients we go with the system that is going to be the safest choice for that particular work situation. That is the only deciding factor. Our design team chooses the fall protection solution that is going to give our client the highest level of protection and lowest level of risk. In most cases this does not mean the most expensive option available.
Engineering & Horizontal Lifeline Design
The first step for our team is to develop a “conceptual drawing” of the HLL system. This drawing will show basic layout, connection details and coverage area. It’s important to us that we all get on the same page as quickly as possible. A visual description seems to always be highly effective.
If the conceptual design is exactly the protection that your team needs, we will move forward with the engineering of the system. HLL’s are always sent to our engineering team for structural analysis. A complete calculation package describes all aspects of the fall arrest system including the attachment to the building. Be cautious of any designer who excludes the attachment to the building. If your stamped drawings state “attachment to the building by others”, this means they have only checked the already pre-engineered lifeline system and not how it’s connected to your building. Versatile Systems allows checks for the building connections. Remember you are only as strong as your weakest link!
Prior to the start of the project the complete engineering package will be submitted to you for your review. Calculations and drawings will have been stamped by a licensed PE with extensive knowledge in the design and safe use of personal fall arrest systems. This documentation is what will be needed to prove to OSHA that your system has been designed to meet a safety factor of 2.
Virtually every horizontal lifeline system should be installed by factory trained installers. Versatile Systems installers have been trained in the installation of all the systems we sell and install. The correct installation of the HLL system is vital to the safety of the personnel utilizing the system. These installations are not the job for day laborers or part time help.
A complete site specific safety plan will be developed for the installation of your horizontal lifeline system. Temporary fall protection or aerial lifts are most often used to install these systems. Any contractor that works at your facility should have a site specific plan when exposing their employees to fall hazards, describing how they intend on keeping them safe. We are no exception.
Every HLL system that we install includes an Authorized Person training course that is conducted on-site and is specific to the system and equipment installed. User training is the most important portion of any fall protection system. Our ongoing success and the safety of your personnel rely heavily on the safe use of these systems.
Each user is trained on the basic aspects of fall protection and correct user procedures for the fall protection systems installed at their site. Trainers will always ensure that harnesses are worn correctly and that the users understand the consequences of incorrect use.
Self-rescue and assisted rescue methods are a crucial portion of all site specific trainings. The prompt rescue of a fallen worker is essential in preventing suspension trauma and other related health risks caused by a person being suspended in a harness for an extended period of time.
Competent Person training is provided for the supervisor that will be responsible for maintaining the fall protection program on site. This is a 16-hour training course that is conducted in Burbank, CA once a month. In most cases a free seat to the class is given with each engineered lifeline system we install. We feel that the stronger the training program, the more successful the fall protection system. It’s our goal to help you create a work safe culture.
Inspections and Documentation
Our deliverables always include product data, drawings and calculations, user procedures, rescue procedures, training logs and inspection reports.
Cal/OSHA Title 8 Article 24. §1670. Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Personal Fall Restraint Systems and Positioning Devices. (19) Each personal fall arrest system shall be inspected not less than twice annually by a competent person in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. The date of each inspection shall be documented. We include 1-year of documented inspections with each engineered horizontal lifeline system. This allows us to monitor the system during the initial warranty period and ensure that the system is being used properly. Extended Inspection/Warranty programs are also available for our clients that wish to have us continue the inspections past the first year.