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Fall Protection: Systems Inspection

Use the inspection criteria below to maintain fall protection equipment in good working condition.

Note: Always refer to equipment owner/operation manuals for specifics or additional requirements.

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Articulating man lift

picture of an articulating man lift

  • Inspect equipment before each use.
  • Inspect forklift basket once a year for wear, damage, or corrosion.
  • Replace equipment if any defective conditions exist.
  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Document inspections according to the manufacturer's guide.
  • Documentation must be maintained for the life of the unit.

Body harnesses

  • Inspect equipment before each use.
  • Inspect harness systems twice a year for wear, damage, or corrosion.
  • Replace equipment if any defective conditions exist.
  • Document inspections with Appendix 1 - full body harness (PDF).

NOTE: UC San Diego does not approve harnesses that have Velcro for chest straps.

Attaching Buckle

Attachments of buckles and D-rings should be given special attention. Note any unusual wear, frayed or cut fibers, or distortion of the buckles or D-rings.

D-Rings/Back Pads

Check D-rings for distortion, cracks, breaks, and rough or sharp edges. The D-ring should pivot freely. D-ring back pads should also be inspected for damage.

Friction and Mating Buckles

Inspect the buckle for distortion. The outer bars and center bars must be straight. Pay special attention to corners and attachment points of the center bar.

Tongue Buckle

Buckle tongues should be free of distortion in shape and motion. They should overlap the buckle frame and move freely back and forth in their socket. Roller should turn freely on frame. Check for distortion or sharp edges.

The Tongue/Grommets

The tongue receives heavy wear from repeated buckling and unbuckling. Inspect for loose, distorted, or broken grommets. Webbing should not have additional punched holes.

Webbing

Grasp the webbing with your hands 6 to 8 inches apart. Bend the webbing in an inverted "U" as shown. The resulting surface tension makes damaged fibers or cuts easier to see. Follow this procedure the entire length of the webbing, inspecting both sides of each strap. Watch for frayed edges, broken fibers, pulled stitches, cuts, burns, and chemical damage.

Visual Indications of Damage to Webbing and Rope:

  • Chemical
    • Chemical exposure may change fiber color usually appearing as brownish smearing or smudges. Transverse cracks may occur when bent over a mandrel. Loss of elasticity may also occur.
  • Heat
    • In excessive heat, fibers become brittle and have a shriveled brownish appearance. The fibers will break when flexed and should not be used above 180° F.
  • Molten Metal or Flame
    • Exposure to molten metal or flame may result in webbing strands fusing together, hard shiny spots, or make the fibers hard and brittle.
  • Paint and Solvents
    • Paint that penetrates and dries restricts movement of the fibers.
    • Drying agents and solvents in some paints cause chemical damage.
  • A competent person will complete a twice a year inspection of all harnesses and documentation will be maintained. See Appendix 1.
  • Storage will consist of hanging in an enclosed cabinet, to protect from damage.
  • All harnesses that are involved in a fall must be destroyed.

Guardrails

  • Temporary systems: Daily visual inspection must be completed by a competent person.
  • Temporary systems: Weekly, a complete structural inspection must be completed by a competent person.
  • Permanent systems: Annual structural inspections must be completed by a competent person.
  • Future inspections must be based on the conditions/ controls present and requirements set by the manufacturer's instructions (used when equipment has been pre-installed) or the Registered Professional Engineer who designed the system.
  • See Appendix 5 - checklist for walking / working surfaces (PDF).

Horizontal lifelines

  • Inspect before each use for structural integrity of line and anchors.
  • A competent person will complete an annual inspection.
  • See manufacturer's instructions for inspection guidelines.

Lanyards | Shock absorbing lanyards

picture of shock absorbing lanyard

  • A competent person must complete a twice a year inspection of all lanyards and documentation will be maintained.
  • See Appendix 2 - lanyards (PDF).
  • Storage must consist of hanging in an enclosed cabinet, to protect from damage.
  • All lanyards that are involved in a fall must be destroyed.

Self retracting lanyards | Lifelines

picture of retractable lanyards

  • Inspect before each use, as follows:
    • Visually inspect the body to ensure there is no physical damage.
    • Ensure all nuts and rivets are tight.
    • Ensure the entire length of the nylon strap/wire rope is free from any cuts, burns, abrasions, kinks, knots, broken stitches/strands, excessive wear and retracts freely.
    • Test the unit by pulling sharply on the lanyard/lifeline to verify that the locking mechanism is operating correctly.
    • If the manufacturer requires, make certain the retractable lanyard is returned to the manufacturer for scheduled annual inspections.

Snap hooks

  • Only locking snap hooks are permitted for use at UC San Diego.
  • Inspect before each use.
    • Inspect snap hook for any hook and eye distortions.
    • Verify there are no cracks or pitted surfaces.
    • Verify the keeper latch should not be bent, distorted, or obstructed.
    • Verify the keeper latch seats into the nose without binding.
    • Verify the keeper spring securely closes the keeper latch.
    • Test the locking mechanism to verify that the keeper latch locks properly.
  • A competent person must complete a twice a year inspection of all snap hooks and documentation must be maintained.
  • See Appendix 4 - snap hooks / carabineers (PDF).
  • All snap hooks involved in a fall must be destroyed.

Tie-off adapters | Anchorages

picture of a tie-off anchor

  • Inspect for integrity and attachment to solid surface.
  • A competent person must complete an annual inspection of all tie-offs and anchorages and documentation must be maintained.
  • See manufacturer's instructions for inspection guidelines.
  • All tie-offs and anchorages must be destroyed after a fall.

Inspection forms

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