Fall protection management is taking a step forward with the new ANSI Z359 standards due midyear 2007 that set minimum training requirements for workers by Competent and Qualified Persons including their trainers and introduces the term Authorized Persons and Competent Rescuer into this suite of standards:

  • Z359.0 Definitions and Nomenclature for Fall Protection and Fall Arrest

  • Z359.1 Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Subsystems and Components

  • Z359.2 Minimum requirements for a Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program

  • Z359.3 Safety Requirements for Positioning and Travel Restraint Systems

  • Z359.4 Safety Requirements for Assisted-Rescue and Self-Rescue Systems, Subsystems and Components

Competent Persons have several duties based on the OSHA Construction regulations and also Z359 standards. There may be several Competent Person contributors to an organization's fall protection program. For example:

  1. Fall Protection Plan

  2. Site visit before start of work

  3. Selection of fall protection systems

  4. Training

  5. Observation of work and ability to stop work

  6. Inspection of fall protection systems and their proper use (Qualified Persons are responsible to inspect Horizontal Lifeline Systems) including equipment that has experienced a fall

Qualified Persons must be knowledgeable in anchorage requirements and design to validate a fall protection system on an ongoing basis. The Z359.2 is the Managed Fall Protection standard that speaks to fall protection training and the qualifications and experience of the trainer. A qualified trainer in Competent Person, Qualified Person, Authorized Person and Competent Rescuer are the levels of certification.

Authorized Persons and Competent Persons may select non-certified anchorages at 5,000 lbs per person. Qualified Persons may select anchorages at 3,600 lbs minimum. Only Qualified Persons may select anchorages for horizontal lifeline systems.

The benefit of the new standards is that they:

  • Provide increased coverage of Fall Protection equipment and systems

  • Provide upgraded requirements for snaphooks with stronger gates.

  • Provide minimum training requirements for the management of a fall protection program

The Hierarchy of Fall Protection includes eliminating fall hazards, passive fall protection, fall restraint, fall arrest and administrative controls. Designs which eliminate fall hazards through the proper application of the hierarchy of safety controls are the preferred method for fall protection.

Basic fall safety principles have been incorporated into this standard, including hazard survey, hazard elimination and control, and education and training. The primary intent is to ensure a proactive approach to fall protection. However, the reactive process of accident investigation is also addressed to ensure that adequate attention is given to causation of falls.

Developing and implementing a comprehensive managed fall protection program is the most effective method to: identify, evaluate, and eliminate (or control) fall hazards through planning; ensure proper training of personnel exposed to fall hazards; ensure proper installation and use of fall protection and rescue systems; and implement safe fall protection and rescue procedures.

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