As many in the industry are now discovering, new requirements added to CSA Z259.2.4 in a 2015 revision to the standard has required manufacturers to make changes to some popular and widely used rigid rail trolleys.
On January 23, the STAC Workplace Health & Safety Committee discussed these new trolleys, including by addressing questions about the cause, purpose and effect of these changes, as well as STAC Members’ concerns.
Among other things, committee members identified that new requirements in the CSA Z259.2.4-15 standard have resulted in some manufacturers of rigid fall arrest systems certified to this standard to incorporate energy-absorption, and to meet new requirements for fall back scenarios.
Because of the new energy absorber on these trolleys, users are required to slide the trolley down the rail by hand as they descend, essentially removing the option of descending as if normally climbing down a ladder.
While committee members expressed concern that the new trolleys could be difficult for some to use – potentially resulting in crews modifying the trolleys unsafely – other committee members who had used the new trolley said they seemed relatively easy to use.
Committee members also noted that the changes have been made with worker safety in mind, and that it is incumbent on all employers and supervisors to ensure their crews do not modify or disable any of their personal fall protection equipment.
For a video demonstration of the new Trylon Cougar 3.0 trolley in use, please click here https://youtu.be/drSLvXn84CA
STAC Members on the Workplace Health & Safety Committee meeting also expressed concern and uncertainty about whether they were required to discontinue use of the old trolleys that are not compliant with the new CSA Z259.2.4 standard.
They noted that manufacturers were required to discontinue production of the old trolleys as of Dec. 1, 2016, though it was not known whether a similar date was provided to users.
In recent conversations with ESDC’s Labour Program, STAC was informed that the department will enforce current regulations with regards to Fall-Protection Systems, and pointed to Section 12.10 of the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations for federally regulated workplaces.
The appropriate provisions in the regulations read as follows:
… (2) The components of a fall-protection system shall meet the following standards … (b) CSA Standard Z259.2-M1979, Fall-Arresting Devices, Personnel Lowering Devices and Life Lines, the
English version of which is dated November, 1979 and the French version of which is dated October, 1983; …
That said, an ESDC officer also noted that companies are always obligated to do their due diligence when it comes to their health and safety practices, and that following current standards is typically considered a part of due diligence.
In order to justify not adhering to a standard, the officer added, companies should ensure that they have conducted a proper hazard assessment program to determine whether current practices safely mitigate potential hazards in a way that is equal to or superior to available alternatives.
One final concern raised in recent days relating to the new trolleys is the impact that it has on harness rating. In particular, some harnesses state limits to the maximum free fall distance a sternal connection can be exposed to when using those harnesses in conjunction with a climbing system.
Because the new trolley design includes a 12-inch lanyard that connects to a worker’s harness, workers using these new trolleys can now be subjected to a maximum free fall of 24 inches. This would occur if the lanyard-harness connection point is the maximum distance of 12 inches above the trolley-lanyard connection point when a worker falls, causing them to fall 24 inches before the lanyard stops their free fall.
According to CSA Z259.10.12, however, Class L harnesses are capable of withstanding up to 1 meter of free-fall without any energy absorber. This suggests that any Class L harness with CSA certification should be acceptable for use with new trolleys certified to CSA Z259.2.4-15.
Finally, STAC is inviting members to come forward with any other issues or concerns they identify in relation to their use of the redesigned rigid rail trolleys. Any and all concerns should be submitted to STAC Program Manager Nick Kyonka ([email protected]) or STAC Workplace Health & Safety Committee Lead Clay Parchewksy ([email protected]).