Published on: October 26, 2023
Workers who inspect, maintain, repair, and assemble large vehicles and mobile equipment, such as technicians and mechanics, may face fall hazards while accessing the top or underneath of their work. It is important to understand the potential dangers and risks involved in these tasks to ensure that the appropriate work-at-height safety solution is implemented, and adequate training is provided.
Ensuring worker safety during large vehicle inspections and maintenance is crucial. There are three main types of fall protection systems to consider: active work restraint, arrest, and passive fall protection. A combination of these systems can provide a safe and compliant work environment while preventing accidents. It is important to choose the right combination of these systems for maximum effectiveness and safety.
To ensure the safety of workers during large vehicle inspection and maintenance, fall protection systems can be used. These systems can be attached to the ceiling, freestanding on shop floors or yards, or even fit around equipment. Proper implementation of these systems will ensure smooth operations and promote a safe work environment.
Generally, protection is provided in three formats to protect workers from falls over, around, and even under their work.
FALL PROTECTION OVER EQUIPMENT
There are different types of overhead arrest systems that can prevent a fall, a variety of single-point anchors, rigid rail systems, and horizontal lifelines. The main advantage of a rigid rail system is that it can stop a fall at a shorter distance compared to a cable-based system. This article will focus on rigid rail systems that are commonly used for inspecting and repairing large vehicles. These systems can be classified into three main types or varieties: mobile, engineered, and modular.
#1 Mobile Rigid Rail Systems are designed to be used intermittently or in environments where multiple tasks are performed, making them a convenient solution. However, these systems require specific clearance and floor space allowances to operate effectively, depending on their design. Additionally, due to their nature, there is a higher risk of misuse and associated risks involved in using them.
#2 Engineered Rigid Rail Systems are fall protection systems that are either attached to the overhead structure of the facility or designed to be self-supporting using concrete footings and cantilevered over the work area. Systems like these are custom-designed and built to suit the needs of a specific facility and the processes it carries out. The biggest advantage they offer is that they use low-profile rails that are structurally mounted to keep the floor open, providing maximum work zones.
#3 Modular Rigid Rail Systems are a type of component-based arrest system that are customized based on specific measurements taken on-site. These systems are like engineered rigid rail systems and are fixed to the ceiling via a range of mounting options. They are easy to ship to the installation site, simple to install, and require minimal maintenance.
FALL PROTECTION AROUND EQUIPMENT
Work platforms, maintenance stands, and access platforms are highly useful in large work spaces where workers need to perform mid-body or higher tasks on large vehicles.
Platforms can be designed to reach complex places and provide stable elevated surfaces for workers to walk on and work from, improving safety and efficiency. Mobile platforms are typically made from aluminum, while fixed platforms often utilize steel.
Access platforms that use modular components can be customized to suit any task with minimal disruption to existing work processes.
FALL PROTECTION UNDER EQUIPMENT
When working on the chassis, drivetrain, and other mechanical components of a vehicle, workers may need to use pits. However, if these pits are left unprotected, they can pose a fall hazard. Employers who oversee work conducted around maintenance pits have added responsibilities to ensure their workers’ safety. Pit Protect™ covers are a lightweight safety product designed for inspections. They are easy to open and close, allowing access to the vehicle’s underside while protecting workers from falls. These covers are robust and adjustable, making them quick and easy to deploy for added convenience.
WHY PROTECT THROUGH FALL PROTECTION SYSTEMS?
The general safety requirements are easy to understand. The OSHA Act of 1970 General Duty Clause requires employers to ensure that their workplace is free from any identifiable hazards that could potentially cause death or serious physical harm.
However, it can be challenging to know the best practices for how to provide protection against fall hazards without proper knowledge and experience. Yet, it is the responsibility of those who control or issue work at height, such as facility managers and building owners, to ensure that the workplace, workforce, and contractors are safe. Additionally, OSHA 1910.28 mandates that employers must provide their employees with fall protection systems such as guardrails, personal fall arrest systems, or travel restraint systems when working on elevated surfaces four feet or higher above the ground.
PROFESSIONAL & QUALIFIED FALL PROTECTION CONSULTING AND SOLUTIONS
If you need a work-at-height task or an entire facility evaluated or be brought into compliance with OSHA regulations and ANSI best practices for fall safety, consult the professional fall protection team at Flexible Lifeline Systems.
Established in 1996, Flexible Lifeline Systems (FLS) is managed by a team of experienced Fall Protection Engineers and Specialists. FLS is well-equipped with the knowledge and expertise required to handle the demands of unusual structures or extreme conditions. Widely known for providing cost-effective and practical fall protection systems that use regulations as the minimum benchmark for design. Reach out to the pioneers of engineered fall protection today!