ES&H Manual



6131 Appendix T2

Active Fall Protection Systems



1.0             Purpose

Active fall protection systems require workers to wear or use fall protection equipment. This document describes the types, components, inspections, care and maintenance of active fall protection systems used at Jefferson Lab.

2.0             Scope

The following types of active fall protection systems are used at Jefferson Lab:

·         Fall Restraint Systems

·         Personal Fall Arrest Systems

This appendix is written in coordination with ES&H Manual Chapter 6131 Fall Protection Systems.

3.0             Responsibilities

NOTE:            Management authority may be delegated to a task qualified Jefferson Lab employee at the discretion of the responsible manager.

3.1              Employees Using Active Fall Protection Systems

·         Maintain current training, applicable to use of active fall protection systems and/or Operational Safety Procedures (OSPs).

·         Collect active fall protection system components from the Material Handling Manager (MHM).

·         Conduct a pre-use inspection of active fall protection system equipment.

·         Wear the appropriate active fall protection equipment for the job.

·         Do not use any equipment which fails a pre-use inspection or is past due for a formal inspection, but instead, remove affected components from service and notify supervision.

·         Transfer any active fall protection system component that fails a pre-use inspection, is past due for a formal inspection, or has arrested a fall, to the MHM.

·         Review and abide by hazard mitigation methods outlined in the written Task Hazard Analysis (THA).

·         If required, read and sign the OSP for the job.

3.2              Supervision

·         Ensure that a written THA is completed prior to use of active fall protection systems.

·         Ensure walking/working surfaces can support maximum loads.

·         If required, provide an OSP and ensure that affected workers have completed training and signed the OSP.

·         Ensure that proper active fall protection is being employed by workers.

·         Ensure all active fall protection system components are available for formal inspection by the MHM.

·         Ensure active fall protection equipment is stored appropriately to prevent damage from operations, the environment, or other work activity.

3.3              Material Handling Manager (MHM)

·         Conduct formal inspections of all active fall protection system components annually or in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations, whichever is more frequent.

·         Purchase and issue active fall protection system equipment.

·         Maintain inspection records of active fall protection system components.

·         Dispose of defective or otherwise unusable active fall protection system components.

·         Conduct harness fitting for affected personnel and certify individuals have demonstrated proper donning/doffing of active fall protection system gear.

3.4              ES&H Fall Protection Subject Matter Expert (SME)

·         Establish and maintain training programs for active fall protection systems.

·         Conduct pre-work walk-downs of jobsite and review THAs as requested by supervision.

·         Conduct pre-work walk-downs of jobsite prior to approving OSPs involving active fall protection.

·         Provide oversight on the implementation of active fall protection systems.

3.5              Anyone at Jefferson Lab

·         If the integrity or load-bearing capacity of a walking/working surface is questioned, suspend work, secure the area, notify supervision, and enlist the assistance of a qualified person to conduct an evaluation.

4.0             Types of Active Fall Protection Systems

NOTE: Active fall protection system components must be used exclusively for employee fall protection and shall not be used for any other purpose such as hoisting equipment or materials.

4.1              Fall Restraint Systems

·         Fall restraint systems prevent workers from being exposed to fall hazards by limiting their movement and are preferred over personal fall arrest systems.

·         Restraint systems consist of anchorages, anchorage connectors, lanyards, and full body harnesses.

·         Restraint system components must meet the same criteria as fall arrest components.

4.2        Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS)

·         PFASs are used to limit fall distances so that a worker does not free fall more than 6 ft. A free fall may exceed 6 ft. only if the PFAS has been designed, tested, and rated for the increased free fall distance, and limits arresting forces on worker to a maximum of 1,800 lb.

·         PFASs limit fall distances so that a worker neither contacts a lower level nor dangerous equipment.

·         PFASs consist of anchorages, anchorage connectors, lanyards, and full body harnesses.

5.0             Active Fall Protection System Components

5.1              Anchorage

·         Anchorages are secure points for attachment of lanyards or connecting devices.

·         Anchorages must be capable of supporting, without failure, at least 5,000 lbs. per person attached, or, designed, installed, and used under the supervision of a qualified person as part of a fall protection system, which maintains a factor of safety of at least 2.  

·         Anchorages are typically structural members, or dedicated points designed and installed for tie-off of personnel for fall restraint or arrest. Electrical conduit, sprinkler pipes, and guardrail systems are not appropriate selections for anchorage of active fall protection systems.

·         If unsure as to the adequacy of an anchorage, workers are to notify their supervision in order to have an evaluation/determination performed by a qualified person.

·         Crane hooks may be used for anchorage only with the prior approval of the Fall Protection Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Material Handling Manager (MHM).

5.2              Anchorage Connector

·         Tie-off adaptors (cross-arm straps), beam clamps, beam trolleys, and eye-bolts are examples of anchorage connectors which facilitate connection of lanyards to anchorages.

·         Anchorage connectors must have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 lbs. (for connection of one person). Workers should consult with the Fall Protection SME if questions arise regarding the selection of an appropriate anchorage connector for a specific application.

·         Anchorage connectors are issued by JLab’s Material Handling Manager (MHM). 

5.3              Lanyard

·         Lanyards are flexible ropes, wire ropes, or straps, typically with connectors (such as snaphooks) at both ends, for attachment of full body harnesses to anchorages or anchorage connectors.

·         Lanyards may be fixed length, have a shock-absorbing feature (deceleration device) or be of a self-retractable design. Snaphooks must be of the self-closing and locking type, and unless designed by the manufacturer for the following connections, shall not be connected:

o   Directly to rope or webbing

o   To each other

o   To a D-Ring in which another snaphook or connector is attached.

·         Tying knots in lanyards reduces their strength - this practice is prohibited.

·         Lanyards, including lines used for fall restraint, must have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 lbs. JLab’s Material Handling Manager (MHM) issues lanyards to workers.


            5.4       Full Body Harness

·         Body harnesses consist of a series of straps secured around a worker in order to distribute fall arrest or restraint forces over the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest, and shoulders, containing a means, such as a D-ring, of connecting it to a lanyard or other component of a fall protection system.

NOTE:  Use of safety belts is prohibited at Jefferson Lab.

·         Workers must receive, and be fitted for, full body harnesses by JLab’s Material Handling Manager (MHM). The D-rings and straps for full body harnesses must have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 lbs.

NOTE:  Fall protection equipment used by Jefferson Lab personnel (including term and contract employees) shall be issued by JLab’s MHM.

6.0             Task Hazard Analysis (THA)

NOTE: Active fall protection systems require, as a minimum, completion of a written THA that is developed using ES&H Manual Chapter 3210 Work Planning, Control, and Authorization Process and Task Hazard Analysis (THA) Worksheet. Supervision should contact the Fall Protection Subject Matter Expert (SME) to perform a pre-work walk-down of the jobsite prior to finalizing the THA.

The following factors should be considered when conducting the Task Hazard Analysis (THA) required for use of active fall protection systems:

THA Factors for Type of Active Fall Protection System Employed



Fall Restraint

Personal Fall Arrest

Walking/Working Surfaces

Must be adequate to support maximum loads (including personnel, tools, equipment, material, etc.)



Location of Fall Hazards

More than one fall hazard may exist, such as multiple unprotected edges, floor holes, etc.



Anchorage Point Strength & Location

Anchorages must meet strength requirements outlined in Section 5.1 of this appendix, and located so as to eliminate worker exposure to a fall hazard (fall restraint) or located directly overhead (fall arrest) 



Number of Employees Required to Work at Elevation

Coordinate work activities, location of personnel, selection of active fall protection system components, and location of anchorages so as not to create additional hazards.



Type of Work Performed

Consider impact of work activities (hot work, freedom of movement, etc.) in selection of active fall protection system components.



Description of Active Fall Protection System Components

Ensure compatible components are employed, such as types of lanyards (fixed length, self-retractable), anchorage connectors, and harnesses.



Protection of Personnel Underneath Elevated Work

Use of hardhats is mandatory; supplemented by barricading affected area or use of canopies.



Maximum Fall Distance

Consisting of:

·      Length of lanyard

·      Deceleration distance

·      Height of worker

·      Safety factor (1 ½ ft. min.)



Free Fall Distance

6 ft. max., as measured from location just prior to fall to the point that arresting forces begin.



Clearance Distance

Measured between the anchorage point and lower level – clearance distance must be greater than max. fall distance.



Total Weight to be Arrested

Include worker, tools, clothing, equipment, etc. Don’t exceed capacity of fall protection components.



Swing Hazards

Limit horizontal distance between worker and anchorage point to minimize swing hazards.



Damage to Active Fall Protection Components During Fall Arrest

Dynamics of a fall may lead to cuts or abrasions of webbing due to sharp objects – use protectors or select more durable components.



Dangerous Equipment in Vicinity of Work Area

Personnel contact with dangerous equipment must be avoided.



Summon Rescue Assistance

In the event a fall occurs:

·      Dial 9-1-1 and request response from Newport News Fire Dept. 

·      Alert Jefferson Lab security personnel by dialing ext. 5822.



7.0             Inspections

Active fall protection system components are inspected by workers prior to use, along with a formal inspection conducted by the MHM. Any component failing a pre-use inspection, past-due for a formal inspection, or otherwise whose integrity is suspect, shall not be used, but immediately transferred to the MHM.

7.1              Formal Inspection

The MHM shall conduct a formal inspection of all fall protection components annually or in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations; whichever is more frequent.

7.2              Pre-Use Inspection

Workers shall perform a pre-use inspection of their active fall protection system components. Unacceptable conditions include, but are not limited to:

·         Cuts, tears, burns, abrasions, frayed fibers, chemical attack, mold, broken or missing stitching, or other deterioration

·         Missing, distorted, corroded, or otherwise damaged components

·         Excessive wear (thinning or stretched components)

·         Alteration or modification of components

·         Improper fit

·         Evidence that fall protection system components have previously arrested a fall

·         Any other condition causing the integrity of the component to be questioned

·         Last formal inspection date beyond 12 months

8.0             Care and Maintenance

8.1              Cleaning

·         Hand-scrubbing is an effective method of cleaning active fall protection system components.

·         Use a solution of water and mild laundering detergent (bleach-free) as a pre-soak and cleaning agent.

·         Once cleaned, rinse the components with water and hang to air dry in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

·         Do not use high pressure washers or steam cleaners, as these devices may damage fall protection components.

·         Do not directly apply heat to the components in order to lessen drying time.

8.2              Storage

·         Active fall protection system components are stored in isolated areas, such as lockers or closets, where they are not subject to moisture or sunlight.

·         Storage areas should be selected to protect components from damage due to facility operations, work activities, chemical exposure, or from other stored items (such as sharp objects).

9.0     Rescue

In the event a worker has experienced a fall and requires assistance, dial 9-1-1 immediately and request response from the Newport News Fire Department. If a cell phone is used to dial 9-1-1, contact Jefferson Lab security at 757.269.5822 so that they may direct the first responders to the jobsite (security is automatically notified if 9-1-1 is dialed via a Jefferson Lab land-line phone).


10.0   Revision Summary

Revision 2.2 – 06/13/18 – Minor updates for clarification per TPOC

Revision 2.1 – 09/13/16 – Clarification of THA documentation in Section 6.0

Revision 2.0 – 12/01/15 – Periodic Review; updated procedure to address action plans resulting from self-assessment

Revision 1.3 – 03/18/15 – Technical POC updated from B.Manzlak to G.Perry per B. Rainey

Revision 1.2 – 10/27/14 – Technical POC updated from N.Walker to current SME B.Manzlak

Revision 1.1 – 12/04/12 – Qualifying periodic review; No substantive changes required

Revision 1.0 – 12/23/09 – Content updated to reflect current laboratory operations.










ESH&Q Division

George Perry