1. #1
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    Mar 2004

    Default Ladder Belt question

    I've heard recently that per OSHA that the standard ladder belt that goes around the waist is no longer allowed to be used by dept's who have ladder trucks and have members working off the ladders due to safety reasons. I was also told that if anything they have to be in harnesses of some kind, say like the gemtor harness. Is there any truth to this and if so does anyone know where to find the link for this OSHA rule?

  2. #2
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    Chief2701's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Valparaiso Indiana USA


    I would gamble to say that there is no "OSHA" ruling specifically concerning "firefighters and ladder safety belts".

    for clarification are you talking working off a ladder or only from the bucket portion?

    Let’s first start with “following the manufacturers recommendations”

    The situation you describe in my opinion relates most closely to that of a lineman in relationship to the difference between fall arrest, fall restraint, or fall prevention.

    With regard to whether a climber's safety belt can be used with a pole strap to climb a pole if the belt manufacturer's instructions prohibit its use for fall arrest, please be advised that a safety belt and pole strap system is as an acceptable means of fall protection for employees climbing poles. OSHA considers a lineman's pole strap and safety belt to be a fall prevention or restraint system, not a fall arrest system, and, therefore, there is no conflict between the safety belt manufacturer's instructions and federal standards for fall protection while climbing poles.

    OSHA has adopted the position that a positioning device may be used for fall protection when an employee is climbing a wood pole as well as when the employee is working at specific locations on the pole. This is because the short strap (in your case a caribeaner) length in a typical system precludes the employee from free falling a sufficient distance that could cause damage to the system. It functions more or less like a tether, significantly reducing impact loading. It thus can provide appropriate fall protection. Fall arrest systems are those designed to arrest a free falling employee. Because such systems are subject to considerable impact forces, there are stringent guidelines for their manufacture and use. I believe this is what the manufacturer means to say on the instructional tags. However, you may wish to contact the manufacturer yourself to determine the exact nature of the instruction.

    For working from the bucket:
    In regards to the use of fall arrest equipment and the use of body belts, do OSHA regulations require that a body belt be attached to a lanyard and used to protect personnel against falls from elevated "operator-up" high lift truck platforms, or do the standards state that a 5-point harness must be worn as a part of a fall arrest device?

    OSHA's powered industrial trucks (PITs) standard, contained in 29 CFR 1910.178,[/B] does not have provisions that require either the use of a body harness or safety belt to protect personnel against falls from elevated platforms. However, in the absence of a specific standard, OSHA can enforce Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) -- which requires employers to protect employees from serious recognized hazards. Industry consensus standards, such as ASME B56.1-2000 Safety Standard for Low Lift and High Lift Trucks would be taken into consideration by OSHA when determining whether a hazard is "recognized" and that there is a feasible means of abating such a hazard. Section 4.17.2(c) of ASME 56.1-2000 requires that whenever an operator-up high lift truck is used to elevate personnel, restraining means such as railings, chains, cable, body belt(s) with lanyard(s), or deceleration devices, etc. are in place and properly used. Although the ASME standard calls for the use of body belts, OSHA strongly encourages employers to use body harnesses in place of body belts. You should also be aware that, as part of a rulemaking to revise Subpart D of 29 CFR 1910, OSHA has proposed the inclusion of a fall protection requirement that would apply to work platforms used in conjunction with powered industrial trucks.

    Please note that although OSHA standards allow the use of body belts in both systems, I would agree with the manufacturer that belts should not be used for fall arrest.

    In addition to my true passion which is a firefighter, I worked for 20 years as a high voltage lineman ( the only thing about falling that concerned us was “burning up on re-entry” ) and the last 15 as a safety engineer; I know there are other forum members here that also are safety engineers, please feel free to jump in and correct or add to.
    Last edited by Chief2701; 03-22-2007 at 12:35 PM. Reason: Spelling
    [FONT=Times New Roman]Douglas R. Patton
    "Omnis Cedo Domus"
    I am now a former Chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone.
    Isaiah 6:8

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