What is a fall protection inspection form?
Several occupational groups have to work on roofs or windows and are constantly at risk of a life-threatening fall. This group includes roofers, window cleaners, construction workers, manual laborers, and maintenance and cleaning personnel who work on roofs of all kinds or perform work at heights.
To prevent life-threatening injuries in the event of a fall from the roof, a break-through, or a slip, there are various protection methods and systems. The most common fall protection systems for working at heights include safety nets, guard rails, safety roof hooks, and security and rope safety systems. Before installing fall arrest systems, you should use a rope access template to assess the risk of industrial climbing. This will allow the risks to be properly assessed and the appropriate fall protection method to be selected.
Once the fall protection systems have been installed, they and the personal protective equipment against falls from a height (PPEgA) must be checked at regular intervals during their use to ensure that they are functioning properly. The use of checklists is suitable for both the risk analysis and the maintenance of the fall protection system. Thanks to their structured structure, no check is ignored and hazards as well as damage are detected at an early stage in an efficient manner. The prior risk assessment as well as the regular inspections of fall protection systems and personal protective equipment with checklists ensure safety for employees when working at heights.
This article covers the following topics:
Why is a fall protection inspection form necessary?
Construction and maintenance work on roofs and at heights is dangerous and requires the installation of fall protection from a fall height of one metre. Its meaning is already hidden in the word composition: a fall protection system secures a person from falling.
A basic distinction is made between two types of fall protection devices:
- Primary fall protection: It prevents a fall in endangered areas.
- Secondary fall protection: It catches persons or material in the event of a fall.
Different legal requirements and criteria apply to fall protection for the various occupational groups, which the protection system must fulfil. Binding for all are the technical rules for workplaces ASR A2.1 “Protection against falls and falling objects, entering danger areas”.
In addition, Annex 5.2 para. 2 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act contains clear regulations that apply specifically to construction work. But the Workplace Ordinance and the Accident Prevention Regulations of the Construction Industry Employers’ Liability Insurance Association also deal with fall protection, and the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) has formulated some regulations on accident prevention during roofing work.
But even independent of legal rules and regulations, fall protection pays off for employers. Fall protection increases the employees’ sense of safety and relieves them mentally. This allows them to fully concentrate on their work and deliver better results.
The risk assessment for working at height
As a general rule for fall protection, collective hazard protection always takes precedence over individual protection. Depending on nature, duration of the activity and physical strain, as well as the condition of the standing position and standing surfaces, the need for fall protection may also be determined for a lower fall height. A fall hazard can already exist at a fall height of only one metre.
A fall protection system must be used in workplaces and traffic routes on or above materials in which it is possible to sink, regardless of the fall height. Therefore, it is important to carry out a risk assessment for work at height for every construction project or maintenance work in order to be able to assess the situation correctly.
In addition to those already listed previously, the following further criteria are taken into account in the risk assessment:
- the distance from the edge of the fall
- the nature of lower-lying surfaces (e.g. water, debris, concrete, etc.)
- the condition of the working environment and hazardous external influences (e.g. visibility, weather conditions, etc.)
In the case of new buildings, planners and building owners must ensure that suitable fall protection is in place, both during the construction phase and for the subsequent use, maintenance and care of the roof surfaces, but also of subordinate components such as solar installations, following a risk assessment. This planning can be discussed with the Safety Officer during the construction project in order to be able to implement the necessary changes directly.
Why is asafety harness inspection checklist is an adequate tool?
Depending on the area of use and the purpose of the fall protection system, conscientious planning supports the safety of workers and the environment. The fall protection systems have different properties, which are better or worse suited for the respective protection purpose. Therefore, important questions must be clarified in advance after the risk assessment in order to be able to decide on the right measures:
- Is collective protection feasible or does individual protection have to be used?
- Should individual protection be conceived as a restraint system or a catchment system?
- Are there factors that prevent the use of certain systems?
With the help of a harness inspection checklist, these questions can be clarified step by step and discussed in the team. In addition, the upcoming implementation of the measures can also be planned and completed in a structured way with a checklist.
The possible fall protection measures
There are a variety of fall protection systems on the market, which makes it all the more crucial to draw the right conclusions from the risk assessment. Depending on the nature of the working environment and the workplace only certain measures can be implemented at all:
- Fall protection
This always refers to collective fall protection for work at height such as railing systems, side protection, etc.
- Attachment devices
It may be that, for operational reasons, no fall protection can be used, in which case fall arrest equipment (e.g. safety nets, fall-through grids) must be installed.
- Personal protective equipment against falls from a height (PPEgA)
If both fall protection and fall arrest systems are not suitable as fall protection measures, personal protective equipment against falls from a height (PPEgA) must be used as an individual protective measure. For this purpose, suitable anchorage devices must be installed to which the users can reliably attach their protective equipment. Employees must be trained in the use of PPE.
- Do not use a safety device
If the nature and progress of the activity and special features of the workplace do not permit the previously mentioned protective measures, safety measures may be waived under special circumstances if:
- the edge of the fall is clearly recognisable.
- the workplace is two metres away from the edge of the fall.
- the workers are physically and technically fit.
- a separate toolbox talks has taken place.
A digital tool for the safety harness inspection checklist
Digital checklists are excellent for assessing the risks of working at height, installing fall protection systems and carrying out regular maintenance. With them, all questions can be clarified step by step and hazards can be reliably assessed. Checklists minimise the risk of forgetting inspections and overlooking inspection points.
Lumiform’s mobile app and desktop software enables users to implement checklists in digital form. This offers them many other advantages. All responsible persons can access the respective checklists at any time and from any location. If problems occur and corrective measures become necessary, they can be informed immediately from the app.
In addition, clean, transparent documentation helps to prevent high fines for non-compliance with legal regulations. Building owners, planners and safety officers benefit from many other advantages when checking fall protection with Lumiform:
- The flexible form builder helps to convert individual paper lists into digital checklists within a few minutes.
- The super intuitive mobile app makes it child’s play for the team to conduct every exam on site, saving time
- All exam results are automatically bundled into one report and can be sent immediately.
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