In browsing the internet today, I came across some very disturbing statistics... 25% of all ALF fans are also Star Trek... wait a minute, wrong statistics. No, the study I read today was from Miller Fall Protection regarding fall protection on the job site. What I found out was disturbing.
Apparently, over the past couple of months, while rest of us where trying to figure out what the hell the season finale of Lost was about, Miller Fall Protection was voluntarily removing shock absorbing safety lanyards (various manufacturers) from job sites for safety tests. The disturbing part? 85% of these lanyards FAILED standard safety tests (ANSI Standards). WTF? 85%!!!! Seriously, guys, you might as well head out to the job site in a jock strap with those results. What's the problem?
Well, it's not that these products were manufactured poorly. It turns out that people aren't getting new equipment when they should be. Fall Protection Equipment is not like a baseball card from the 1950's, it doesn't become more valuable with age. They're like people, when they get old you've got to throw them out. (I'm kidding, about the throwing old people part, but not the fall protection part.) Want some more disgusting stats?
100% of the fall protection lanyards failed visual inspection. Yikes! At least run a hand over your lanyard if you're too busy to look at your safety equipment.
6% of the lanyards had previously been deployed and were still in service. Come on, guys. If it's in a fall it's done. You need new equipment. Let me set up an example of what this is like. Imagine you get in a car accident, and luckily the airbag deploys and you survive. In fact, you don't even have a scratch on you. Then rather than replacing the airbag, you decide to leave it deployed. And so the bag isn't just dangling there, you duct tape it to your steering wheel. Is this safe? I rest my case, your honor.
What happened when they tested these lanyards? 6% had webbing that actually broke, 24% elongated past the 42" standard, 83% had fall arrest forces over 900 lbs. (illegal), and 9% had snap hooks that opened during the fall. I hope these statistics speak for themselves.
So, if you've got old equipment, get rid of it. Old fall protection could be deadly. Take the time to inspect your gear and as Miller says, "when in doubt, throw it out." Not only does that work with fall protection, it also applies to refrigerator food and old underwear.