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Fall Protection Swing Hazard

Posted by Doug Kotecki on

Some of you may not know this, but a very serious hazard can exist when using fall protection. It's called the swing hazard or swing factor. It can be extremely dangerous (like mixing peanut butter and jam). What the heck am I talking about? I'll tell you.

Swing falls occur when a worker is not directly below an anchor point when a fall occurs. Here's an extreme example...

Imagine you are working on a steel beam that if 40 ft. long and 10 ft. off the ground. You have a 50 ft. retractable placed at one end of the beam and you are tied off. A train leaving Boston.... kidding. You begin to work your way down the beam and find yourself 30 ft. down the beam with 30 ft. of cable from your retractable. If you fall you are going to hit the ground. You will swing back near the anchor point and because you're only 10 ft. off the ground... CRUNCH!

I hope that makes sense.

The important part to remember in all of this is that you should try to stay directly underneath your anchor point as best you can. If you find yourself stretching 30 ft. to one side of your anchor, it's time to move your anchor or put a new one closer to where you're working

Now, in case some of this didn't make sense. I've attached a fancy little chart from the folks at DBI/SALA. It explains... well you can read a chart right?

Swing Chart
  • Tags: Advice, Archives 2009, Lifelines

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