Using Fall Arrest Lanyards

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4 min 57 sec
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What we are going to look at now is how we use fall arrest lanyards. Now, what we have got to take into consideration here is what the Working at Height Regulations state. And that is wherever there is a potential for a fall, whether it be above, on the ground or below ground level where there is cause for personal injury we must have protection. So, for me to be able to climb up a ladder, a fixed vertical ladder, I must have some form of protection, and it is all about three points of contact. Very much like if we are climbing a portable ladder or anything like that, we must have our three points of contact.

When I use my lanyards here, to actually start to climb, these actually do become part of my three points of contact, and I must always ensure before I even put a foot on the ladder, now I have that point of contact. Now, we also have to take into consideration the fact of falling and we have what is known as fall factors, so when I use my lanyards I need to be in what is known as a fall factor zero. And for me to be in the fall factor zero, these need to be attached as high as possible above my head. If they are not above my head and it is around about my chest area here, this is what is more commonly known as a fall factor 1, which means I do have a little bit more of distance where I can fall.

What I do try to avoid wherever possible is what they call a fall factor 2. And that is when my lanyards are actually attached down by my feet here. If my lanyards are down by my feet, potentially, I could be looking at a 6-metre fall, because I have got to look at the length of my body, plus the length of my lanyards twice. So that could actually lead to a 6-metre fall, which is not what I want. But sometimes it may be a case when we are climbing we do have to be attached in a fall factor 2. Okay, yeah, I am going to take a potential 6-metre fall, but it is still going to prevent me from falling down to the ground.

What I am going to demonstrate now with the ladder behind me, the fixed vertical ladder, is how we actually use the lanyards. Before I even put a foot on the ladder, what I need to think about is connecting these to the ladder. What I need to do is make sure I am in a fall factor zero or as close to a fall factor zero as possible. So, I am going to attach it as high as I can reach. And I put both of my lanyards on there, absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. What I am now going to do is I am going to step onto the ladder, and as I step onto the ladder I am going to un-attach one and move it up further. What we have to remember is, I must always have one of these attached at any one time. So, I make sure I am attached before I un-attach.

Going up the ladder, what I am looking at is going to about chest height with my lanyards, before I take one off, and I move it up. What can I do now is I can climb up to that one, I can disconnect this one if I wish, so what I can do is I can actually disconnect it, climb up, connect it higher. Then again, the lower one, I can disconnect that, climb up, connect it higher. So, I am not going anywhere lower than a fall factor 1, and it is keeping me fairly safe as I go up. So, as you can see, I am trying to keep the lanyards above my head at all times. When it comes to coming down using lanyards, we need to do the reverse of what we do when we are going up. So what I would do is I would climb down to about shoulder height of my lowest lanyard, then I can un-attach my highest one, bring it down, climb down to it, making sure, again taking into consideration, I do not want to climb too low where I cannot reach that one, so I can actually lift it up, connect it.

Again, take the top one off, bring it down, connect it. Again, take the top one off, bring it down, connect it, step off the ladder and now I can take my lanyards off. What we do have to take into account here, and it is very important as well, when I am using my lanyards, if I am at height I must never, ever be in a position where I have got one of these taken off and it is attached back to here or to the side there, because what it will do is it will divert my fall from falling here and that being my fall arrest point to that there being my fall arrest point.