With recent and forthcoming changes to the ANSI Z359 fall protection code, the landscape of the fall protection industry is changing. Although OSHA still sets and enforces the law regarding fall protection, the outdated nature of the existing regulations forces organizations to look to ANSI for guidance on current best practices and equipment.
As in any other industry, manufacturers of fall protection equipment are continuously innovating to meet the needs of their customer base. While even ANSI can’t keep pace with this rate of change, the Z359 family of standards outlines the most current best practices for fall protection. The changes that have been made to the ANSI standards in the past five years can—and, in my opinion, should—have a significant impact on an organization’s fall protection program.
It is, however, important to note that the updates to the ANSI Z359 standards make equipment and practices safer. This is not to say equipment that meets older standards is inherently unsafe. Equipment that meets newer standards is safer because it reflects design and application changes based on updated testing and feedback on usage. This is why training is so important for any equipment: Your workers need to know the use and limitations of equipment. And you need to stress to your workers that engineering controls always should be considered before equipment because equipment-based systems have so many opportunities to fail.
One of the most impactful changes to the ANSI Fall Protection Code is the ANSI Z359.2 standard, which outlines how to develop and maintain a comprehensive managed fall protection program. From a holistic standpoint, this standard can have the greatest impact on the overall success of a fall protection program because it addresses far-reaching items, such as policy development, hazard identification, procedures, and training. These may seem like standard items for a program, but it is where we have seen many organizations struggle, especially in the hazard identification area.
Read the rest of the article here: https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2014/01/01/Update-Your-Fall-Protection-Program-Now.aspx?m=2&Page=2
Download the latest ANSI Z359 Standard here: http://www.asse.org/assets/1/14/Z359_0_2012wm1.pdf
Source: OHS Online & LJB, Inc.
About the Author: Thomas Kramer, PE, CSP, is a principal with LJB Inc. and currently serves as the president of the International Society for Fall Protection, as well as subcommittee chairman for two ANSI Z359 committees on active fall protection. He can be reached at TKramer@LJBinc.com.