Anchored Down on High

Finding the personal fall arrest system: anchorage/anchorage connector.

an·chor·age \'aŋ-k( -)rij\ noun  1 a: a place where vessels anchor: a place suitable for anchoring b: the act of anchoring: the condition of being anchored 2: a means of securing: a source of reassurance 3: something that provides a secure hold

A personal fall arrest system consists of three components: anchorage/anchorage connector, full-body harness, and connecting device (shock-absorbing lanyards, self-retracting lifelines, etc.). An anchorage, commonly referred to as a tie-off point, may be an I-beam, column, rebar, scaffolding, or other structural member. Unless the anchorage is a structural member of the building, it may be necessary to have a structural engineer determine that the proposed anchorage is of sufficient strength.

An anchorage connector is used to join the lanyard/connecting device to the anchorage. Many different types of anchorage connectors are available, and more come onto the market regularly. Some types of anchorage connects currently available include cross arm straps, beam anchors (“beamer”), D-Bolts, hook anchors, horizontal lifelines, and chokers. Anchorage connects may be permanently or temporarily installed, depending upon what is needed. The configuration and material of the anchorage connector will vary depending on the work being performed.

Anchorages and anchorage connectors must be easily accessible, capable of supporting 5,000 pounds of force per worker, and be located high enough for a worker to avoid contact with a lower level should a fall occur. Whenever possible, the anchorage should be at the worker’s shoulder height or higher.

- Janet Howe, Safety Specialist with DPR, Inc.