By Gordon Lyman, eSystem Training Solutions (STAC Member Blogger)
I participated in the STAC sponsored Fall Protection Engineering course this month taught by Greg Small of Elevated Insight and Engineering.
I am not an engineer but I have lots of experience in fall protection methodology and industry standards. Even with that background, I barely passed. The course was very difficult but enlightening. I would encourage only engineers to take this course.
Our telecom field workers wear and use fall protection equipment that complies with the applicable CSA Z-259 standards, which makes the equipment – when connected together – an engineered system. The missing link has always been engineered anchorages. In most cases there are no engineered anchors: just make sure you can hang a truck off the spot you pick.
What I learned in this course is that engineered anchors are a real possibility by developing a fall protection plan based on the type of equipment being used and the forces created by a possible fall, which are actually much lower than the numbers typically discussed in the past. This course explained that the fall forces can be calculated when using specific equipment, so using two times the maximum arresting force we can tell our engineers what we need for an anchorage.
I would encourage everyone to get involved and to take this course, especially the end users who specify the requirements in their contracts. We have the opportunity to help our industry be a more professional place to work: let’s do it!