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Inertia reel fall arrest systems

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QUESTION: 

The company I am working for are introducing inertia type fall arrests for use when lifting pumps.  None of the wells have provision to hang the fall arresters, but we are told it is acceptable to tether the arresters to fence posts, trees or the backs of our vans.

My job demands that regularly I remove waste water pumps from wells in various locations. The wells vary in depth from 3 to 6 metres. Most wells have lifting davit points or overhead lifting beams. My argument is that if I am tethered to the tow ball on my van, to the top of my safety harness, I will still fall in the well if I slip. Could you please inform me of your opinion of the situation.

ANSWER: 

Inertia type fall arrests should be used in the vertical plane with an overhead anchor unless the manufacturers instructions clearly state otherwise.

The main problem with non-overhead anchors is that in the event of a fall the line will come into contact with an edge which could sever the line. A suitable anchor should meet the requirements of BSEN 795:1997 which sets out the requirements and necessary testing for anchor devices.

There is also a relevant British standard (BS 7883:2005) which covers the requirements for design, selection, use and maintenance of anchors.

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