IPAF issues fall protection guidance note

01 May 2008

No harness with scissors, says IPAF

No harness with scissors, says IPAF

The key change is the advice for boom operators (self-propelled, truck- and trailer-mounted). Focus shifts from work restraint only to a full-body harness with a shortened adjustable lanyard used for work restraint. The advice means that the most commonly-used full body harness with adjustable lanyard will be appropriate as long as it is shortened to provide restraint only. AI understands that on some worksites, operators have been prevented from working unless they used a restraint-only belt.

In scissor lifts and vertical personnel lifts, meanwhile, harnesses are not recommended unless there are exceptional circumstances. However, a spokesman for IPAF said that, if an operator concludes that a harness was required with a scissor lift, then the user should question the use of that type of platform for the work.

The guidance for the UK has been officially launched and is expected to be similar elsewhere. IPAF is currently assessing if legislation of other countries will require any changes to the guidance.

The guidance is expected to be welcomed by the industry, although there will still be discussion. For example, Robin Bent, managing director of Safe Access Training in the UK, said the guidance sounded sensible, but added; “The only problem is, if you are using an adjustable lanyard, who is to say that the operator won't use it longer?” He said that site managers would have to be educated that lanyards should be adjusted short and to provide restraint only.

Tim Whiteman, IPAF managing director, told Access International that the aim was to provide clear guidance for users; “We believe that lives will be saved if companies follow our guidance. Too often people are putting their lives at risk by not wearing a harness or by wearing inappropriate personal protection equipment.”

The IPAF Technical Guidance Note H1-Safety Harnesses in Mobile Elevating Work Platforms was produced by the UK's Powered Access Interest Group, which is a joint committee of IPAF, the Construction Plant-hire Association and representatives from rental companies and the Health & Safety Executive.

IPAF is contributing an exclusive article on its new guidance in the July-August issue of Access International.

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