Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Updates to the ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Code

Updates to the ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Code have significantly advanced fall protection standards as a whole as well as augmenting their utility in the workplace. Developed by an Accredited Standards Committee with the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) as the secretariat, the Z359 Fall Protection Code was developed to tie fall protection standards together, providing employers with the tools they need to develop, implement, and maintain fall protection programs.

Newly updated in 2012 is ANSI/ASSE Z359.0-2012 Definition and Nomenclature Used for Fall Protection and Fall Arrest. Available for free on the ANSI webstore, the standard establishes the scope for the Z359 Fall Protection Code as a whole, defines terminology and nomenclature, lists exceptions where the code is not applicable, and provides examples of the terminology as it will be used later in the code.

Also recently updated in 2012 is ANSI/ASSE Z359.14-2012 Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall Arrest and Rescue Systems, a standard dealing with the performance, design, qualification testing, markings and instructions, inspections, maintenance and storage, and removal from service of self-retracting devices (SRD). ANSI/ASSE Z359.14-2012 also deals with self-retracting lanyards (SRL), as well as SRLs with integral rescue capability (SRL-R) or leading edge capability (SRL-LE).

2011 marked the publication of ANSI/ASSE Z359.7-2011 Qualification and Verification Testing of Fall Protection Products, another free standard available on the ANSI webstore. Addressing qualification and verification for fall protection products covered elsewhere in the Z359 Fall Protection Code, the standard serves to assure those using fall protection programs that they are implemented according to code.

As the Z359 Fall Protection Code repeatedly cautions, these standards are not applicable for other uses such as window cleaner belts, sports-related activities, rescue and evacuation, or any other systems that incorporate horizontal lifelines or personal protective systems, even if they share components or subsystems that the Z359 Fall Protection Code does address.