Fall Protection: Leading Edge Hazards

Imagine this: one of your workers is working on a high platform. They are well-trained and equipped with fall-protection, and you’re confident in the precautions taken for their safety. Then the worst happens: they fall. Their fall protection should go into action, stopping their fall, but the lanyard holding them up hits the edge they just fell from and cuts, and just like that, their fall protection is gone.

The above situation may seem nightmarish, but it’s unfortunately a very real threat. The leading edge, or the unguarded edge workers can fall from, is often sharp and is a hazard to not only the worker, but the fall protection gear on which they rely.

The safety industry is evolving as it learns new threats and better solutions. While OSHA has not yet addressed the leading edge as a hazard, it’s important to keep in mind as you plan your fall protection.

How to Address the Leading Edge

The best way to prevent fall-protection from breaking on a leading edge is not to have one. Whenever possible, install guard rails. If you can engineer the fall risk out of the situation, that is the first and best option and workers won’t need to wear fall-protection.

When this is not possible, you must make sure your equipment is rated to handle the increased fall distrances, lock-up speed, fall arrest forces and potential for swing hazards that come with leading edge falls.

Choosing Leading Edge Fall Protection

LE (leading edge) rated fall protection equipment utilized larger, stronger and more cut resistant lifeline material and typically has an external energy absorber.

French Gerleman offers LE-rated fall protection products from Guardian Fall Protection and 3M Fall Protection. No matter what your fall protection needs are, we can supply products to your specifications.

What Else is New in Fall Protection?

As mentioned, the safety industry is constantly evolving in light of new hazards or new findings. Ladder safety has come to the forefront of fall protection recently as well, as they account for over half the deaths in falls, with half of those coming from heights of 10’ or below.

Once again, it’s best to simply remove the risk when possible, and many employers are moving away from ladders. Little Giant Ladder offers a line of safety ladders that maintain a stronger center of gravity, and are designed with fall protection in mind.

Make Sure You Have the Correct Equipment to Keep Your Team Safe

It’s important to stay up to date on safety matters – it can literally save lives. The French Gerleman Safety Team can help provide fall protection training and audits from our manufacturer partners. If you are interested in learning more or would like more information about the products referenced in this blog, please contact us or reach out to your French Gerleman Account Manager.

Fall Protection Leading Edge OSHA