Falls are the leading cause of death among construction workers. Each year, roughly 300–400 construction workers fall to their deaths, most often while working at heights on roofs, ladders, and scaffolds. Consequently, setting up a safe work place to prevent employees from falling off overhead platforms, elevated work stations, or into holes in floors and walls is of the utmost importance. ANSI/ASSP A10.32-2023: Personal Fall Protection Systems Used In Construction And Demolition Operations specifies safety requirements and performance criteria for fall protection systems.
The ANSI/ASSP A10.32-2023 Standard for Fall Protection Systems
ANSI/ASSP A10.32-2023 establishes safety requirements and performance criteria for active fall protection systems and their associated equipment used in construction and demolition. The American National standard includes guidelines for the planning, configuration, selection, installation, user training, operation, inspection, and maintenance of equipment that is utilized in active fall protection systems. These fall protection systems create a personal interface with the worker via fitted equipment worn on the body while performing construction and demolition tasks at heights. This standard is applicable to the utilization of systems and equipment that perform one or more functions to protect workers from falls from heights, including (but not limited to) fall arrest, travel restraint, work positioning, climbing assistance, descent control, and emergency rescue. The purpose of ANSI/ASSP A10.32-2023 is to provide guidance for the proper utilization of active fall protection systems and equipment such that workers are protected from falls from height while performing construction and demolition activities.
This standard does not apply to lineman’s body belts, pole straps, window washer’s belts, chest-only or waist-only harnesses, sports and/or and recreational climbing equipment.
Equipment in Fall Protection Systems
All equipment used in a fall protection system should be compatible to limit fall arresting forces, maintain system strength, and prevent accidental disengagement. ANSI/ASSP A10.32-2023 specifies that personal fall arrest systems, when stopping a fall, should be rigged such that an employee can free fall no more than 6 feet (1.8m) or as permitted by the fall protection equipment manufacturer’s instructions. It defines Personal Fall Arrest System as a system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a working level. Further, a personal fall-arrest system consists of an anchorage, connectors, and a full body harness and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or suitable combination of these. The standard also details that all active fall protection equipment components should meet the testing and performance requirements of the standards within ANSI/ASSP Z359.1, The Fall Protection Code, and individual product categories should meet the requirements of their applicable ANSI/ASSP Z359 standard. The standard details requirements for the following equipment in fall protection systems:
- Vertical Lifelines
- Horizontal Lifelines
- Travel Restraint Systems
- Full Body Harnesses
- Work Positioning Belts
- Energized Power Sources
- Rope Grabs
- Snaphooks and Carabiners
What Is the Difference Between Fall Prevention and Fall Protection?
Both fall prevention and fall protection systems include safety equipment to make working at heights safer. The difference between fall protection and fall prevention is tied to the difference between prevention (stopping a fall before it occurs) and protection (minimizing injuries during a fall). More specifically, fall prevention is any system or process one uses to keep an accidental fall from being a risk. Examples of fall prevention include training employees to spot a fall risk, creating a barrier to prevent a fall, or using a lanyard to stop someone from accidentally reaching an unprotected edge as they work (the last two are known as fall restraint systems). Fall protection is equipment that you use to minimize an injury in the event of an accidental fall. Examples of fall protection range from anything to an aerial lift, guardrail systems, safety net systems, and personal fall arrest systems.
ANSI/ASSP A10.32-2023: Personal Fall Protection Systems Used In Construction And Demolition Operations is available on the ANSI Webstore.