Fall protection equipment is the most visible aspect of a fall protection program, and it can be the most costly as well. Unfortunately, these investments can be nullified - or even magnified - due to equipment misuse or "cheating."

This paper covers 10 of the most common fall protection equipment misuse issues. In addition to explaining the misuses, recommendations for what to do to rectify the misuses are also included in this document.

Top 10 Equipment Misuses
1. Rebar snaphooks

Rebar snaphooks—also referred to as pelican hooks, large gates or form hooks by the ANSI Z359.12 standard—are frequently used because they are large and can connect to many objects. This type of equipment is often preferable because it eliminates the need for an additional anchorage connector. While this is convenient, it can be dangerous since a worker's anchorage of choice may be of questionable strength or could cause the snaphook to be loaded inappropriately.

Just as with any other component, rebar snaphooks are tested and approved for use only in specific configurations. When used outside those configurations, there is a risk of failure. Rebar snaphooks are not tested in the same way as a regular snaphook, but many users believe they can be used in all the same ways. For example, the larger snaphooks are not tested for bending, and some manufacturers are now marking certain parts of the hook with "Do Not Load," (as shown in Exhibit 1) to illustrate when loading is outside the intended use of the equipment. When these snaphooks are attached to vertical members, such as guardrail and scaffolding posts, there is the potential for bending.

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